SoftBank to plough billions into Uber: Report

Japanese giant SoftBank is looking to take a 14 percent stake in Uber, according to reports.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

Uber is set to receive a billion-dollar investment from SoftBank, Associated Press (AP) has confirmed, with the Japanese conglomerate looking to increase its stake in the ride-booking service thereafter.

According to AP, the deal will see Uber publicly list before 2020, and has seen the suspension of a lawsuit by investor Benchmark Capital Partners.

Filed in August, the suit alleged Uber's former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick was trying to pack Uber's board with his allies and eventually return to his post as CEO, with Benchmark claiming doing so would harm Uber's shareholders, employees, drivers, and customers.

A spokesman for Kalanick said at the time the lawsuit was "completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations".

SoftBank is expected to increase its ownership of Uber after the initial billion-dollar transaction is completed, but will purchase shares at a price below Uber's $68.5 billion valuation, AP reported.

Last month, SoftBank's investment was said to have reached $1.3 billion, with today's announcement cementing many of the proposals made at the time.

SoftBank has made a number of investments in ride-booking services in recent times.

In October, alongside Chinese giant Tencent, SoftBank was involved in a $1.1 billion investment round of Indian ride-hailing company Ola.

The company had previously raised around $4 billion since its founding in 2010, and was also in talks to boost its funding by an addition billion, it said at the time.

Similarly, SoftBank led a $2.5 billion Series G funding round in July of Grab, Uber's biggest Southeast Asian rival.

Grab claims a 95 percent market share in third-party taxi hailing and 71 percent market share in private vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia.

It operates in 65 cities across seven countries in the region and facilitates nearly 3 million rides a day, Grab claims.

In the United States, SoftBank said last week it would increase its stake in telco Sprint, after talks to merge with T-Mobile ended unsuccessfully.

"Continuing to own a world-class mobile network is central to our vision of ubiquitous connectivity," Sprint chair and SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said.

"Sprint is a critical part of our plan to ensure that we can deliver our vision to American consumers, and we are very confident in its future."

SoftBank also recently signed on to be a part of the consortium building the 60Tbps Jupiter subsea cable. Other members of the consortium include NTT Com, Facebook, Amazon, PLDT, and PCCW Global.

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