Monday, 20 November, 2017

Uber deal gives Softbank a stake and eases board tensions

Uber is close to finalizing a multibillion-dollar investment by Japan's Softbank. | AP file Uber is close to finalizing a multibillion-dollar investment by Japan's Softbank. | AP file
Frank Williams | 13 November, 2017, 19:40

Under the terms of the deal, it is understood that Softbank will lead a $1 billion funding round with participation of Dragoneer Investment Group, a San Francisco-based investor.

Uber has not provided details about the SoftBank-led investment, but according to TechCrunch, the investment will amount to $1 billion.

"We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber's long-term potential", it said.

It would also be a major victory for Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who has reportedly often served as a mediator to help broker the agreement, according to a third person familiar with the matter.

This can bring stability to the world's most valuable startup (valued at almost $70 billion) after the downfall of its founder Travis Kalanick who resigned as CEO in June after allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and a toxic work environment.

Former Irish worldwide Liam Miller is battling cancer
A number of former Ireland internationals have expressed their sorrow at news of his illness. "Will say a prayer for him tonight". While Stoke playmaker Charlie Adam added: "Thoughts are with Liam Miller and his family at this tough time.#staystrong".

Benchmark brought legal action in an attempt to rid the board of his influence, but both sides have agreed to the Softbank sale.

Softbank is a major Japanese conglomerate which has made a habit of investing in tech firms in Silicon Valley, with the likes of Slack and WeWork already on the receiving end of major investments from the company, which also bought United Kingdom chipmaker ARM Holdings. Benchmark agreed to suspend a lawsuit against Kalanick and drop it once Softbank gets through a one-month tender offer period that will start in about two weeks. But there will likely be some wrangling over how much shares are worth in the coming weeks.

Technically, the deal will only be done once enough Uber shareholders opt to sell shares.

The two parties have now reached an agreement on control of board seats, which included Benchmark putting its lawsuit on hold - while Kalanick will allow directors to vote on his future appointments to the three seats he oversees, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources.

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