Investors are fighting for a cheap slice of Uber.
The company is courting three sets of investors who want new or larger stakes by buying shares from existing investors, according to The New York Times.
That might look like a boon, given the company looks like a bonfire right now, but all the offers would involve Uber selling a large amount of shares for the same or less than its current $US68.5 billion (£53 billion) value for the first time.
Uber’s board has voted to move forward with two of the three proposals so far.
The first is from an investor coalition led by Dragoneer Investment Group, whose portfolio includes Spotify. General Atlantic, which has invested in Airbnb and Snapchat, is also part of the group. The group has offered to buy shares from existing investors at a discount.
Uber is also planning to take the next step on an investment from Japanese internet giant SoftBank, which has long been rumoured to be interested in the firm. SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son said in a recent earnings call that the firm was talking both to Uber and its direct rival Lyft.
According to the report, SoftBank also wants discounted shares. But it would inject a small amount of money into Uber at its current valuation, so the company can save face.
Uber is still thinking about a third offer, from a group led by existing investor Shervin Pishevar. He’s offered to buy shares at current valuation, and specifically wants to buy out 75% of the shares held by another investor, Benchmark Capital. Benchmark is suing Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick for alleged fraud, and Pishevar’s group described the action as “ethically dubious”. A share sale would remove Benchmark from Uber’s board.
It’s not like Uber actually needs the cash. According to the New York Times, Uber has around $US5 billion (£3.9 billion) in the bank. But the deals could provide some financial security for Uber while its future is unclear — the company doesn’t have a COO, CMO, or a CFO and is still looking for a replacement for Kalanick.
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