SoftBank picks up majority stake in Uber

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SoftBank has said its investment deal with cab-hailing app Uber is yet to be decided and will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding offered to the Japanese conglomerate.

"We've entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment", Uber said in a statement.

Uber Technologies has chose to accept the investment proposal led by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank to pick up majority stake, bringing months-long negotiations to a close, according to latest news reports.

SoftBank shares were down 0.75 percent on the news with Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre, saying that investors were underwhelmed with the news.

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SoftBank plans to buy about US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) of fresh stock at Uber's current valuation of about US$68.5 billion, but the bulk of the deal will be purchasing existing Uber shares from investors. The agreement will not only give SoftBank a major stake in Uber - it is looking to buy up at least 14 per cent of the company - but it will help put a rest to one of the many ongoing battles for new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber had said funds from SoftBank, subject to the closure of the deal, would help the US-based startup fuel investments in technology and expansion in its home market as well as other countries.

SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After a long negotiation with Uber, SoftBank agreed to buy shares at a single price as long as sellers were barred from working together to push up the price. In return, Kalanick will allow board directors to vote on his selected board appointees in the future, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The company was temporarily banned in New Delhi after one of the drivers on its platform allegedly raped a woman passenger in 2014.

Venture capital firm Benchmark, an early investor with a board seat in Uber, and Kalanick have reached an agreement over terms of the SoftBank investment, which could be worth up to $10 billion.

© 2017 San Jose Mercury News under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media.

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