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SoftBank closes deal with Uber to make it largest shareholder

Can the investment from SoftBank drive Uber forward to a more positive path?

By April Slattery

A consortium of investors led by SoftBank has closed a deal with Uber, making the Japanese company the largest stakeholders in the ride-hailing firm.

Following months of endless scandal that has brought Uber to somewhat of a halt, the investment from SoftBank has given the company the boost it needs to push the business forward.

The investor group is co-led by SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group and also includes Sequoia Capital. Around $9bn was invested overall at the close of the deal, with the group taking around a 17.5% stake in Uber, with SoftBank keeping 15%.

SoftBank closes deal with Uber to make it largest shareholder

SoftBank has bought shares from existing investors and employees, which were purchased at a 30% discounted rate after Uber was revalued at $48bn from the original $69bn.

After somewhat of a rocky ride for Uber in the last year, the investment deal is welcomed by the company and brings hope to rebuild its position in the market.

“This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening Uber’s governance as we double down on our technology investments and continue to bring our services to more people in more places around the world,” said an Uber spokesman, according to Reuters.

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The two companies first mulled the investment deal in November last year, in which Uber stated the investment would be a “strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential”.

As part of the deal, Uber’s board will expand from 11 to 17 members, which will include four independent directors and minimise the control former CEO Travis Kalanick has over decisions with the board. Changes to the board will come into effect immediately.

SoftBank also has shares in similar company’s around the world, including Chinese ride-hailing app Didi, India’s Ola and Grab which is located in Southeast Asia.

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