Uber's massive, multi-billion dollar deal with SoftBank has officially closed -- and the Japanese company now controls 15% of Uber

Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York TimesUber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
  • SoftBank’s big deal with Uber has closed: The firm now owns about 15% of shares in the ride-sharing company, purchased at a 30% discount.
  • SoftBank will also invest $US1.25 billion into Uber directly.
  • Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is said to be making $US1.4 billion off this deal, with influential Uber investor Benchmark making as much as $US900 million.

Uber’s massive, multi-pronged deal with SoftBank has officially closed, ending a contentious process that will make the Japanese conglomerate the largest single shareholder in Uber and usher in sweeping changes to Uber’s governance.

SoftBank has acquired a 15% stake in Uber, through a combination of direct investment in the ride-hailing company and through buying the shares of existing Uber shareholder, Uber confirmed on Thursday, weeks after announcing that the transaction was underway.

Softbank, and a consortium of other investors, bought their Uber stakes at a steep discount, valuing the company at about $US48 billion – about 30% less than its previous private valuation of $US68 billion. Other investors in a SoftBank-led consortium, including Dragoneer Investment Group, purchased about another 5% of Uber. As part of the deal, SoftBank has also invested $US1.25 billion directly into Uber.

SoftBank’s investment will spur Uber to overhaul its corporate governance. Those reforms include removing Kalanick’s super-voting rights on the board, increasing the company’s board size to 17, and adding new independent directors to the board. Those reforms go into effect immediately, says the company.

“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,” says an Uber spokesperson.
Most of the equity involved came from existing shareholders cashing out some of their investments, with ousted CEO Travis Kalanick reportedly selling $US1.4 billion worth of equity to SoftBank and the consortium. Benchmark, one of Uber’s biggest shareholders, is said to have sold off 15% of its own Uber stake, netting the firm about $US900 million. The money will be dispersed to the Uber shareholders who sold later today, says a spokesperson.

From the SoftBank perspective, this is just the latest massive investment by SoftBank’s$US93 billion Vision Fund, which has been investing in several high-flying Silicon Valley companies. In a statement, SoftBank praises new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced Kalanick last year.

“Uber has a very bright future under its new leadership. It is now part of a wider SoftBank network ranging from Sprint to WeWork. I look forward to SoftBank helping Uber become an even bigger global success,” says the company in its statement.

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