Uber nears deal for huge Softbank investment

Japanese tech firm Soft Bank poured cold water on the Uber investment saying there was no final agreement

Japanese tech firm Soft Bank poured cold water on the Uber investment saying there was no final agreement

"SoftBank shows a remarkable amount of bravery, confidence and optimism to look to apply this much money in technology", said Bill Maris, who started Google Ventures almost a decade ago and runs his own California-based investment firm Section 32.

Progress in the negotiations came after venture capital firm Benchmark, an early investor with a board seat in the ride-services company, and former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick struck a peace deal, reaching agreement over terms of the planned SoftBank investment. "Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and overseas, while strengthening our corporate governance", Uber said in a statement on Monday.

Uber has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer to explore a potential investment that some reports suggest could be worth of up to United States dollars 10 billion.

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Uber, in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday, confirmed Kohli had quit.

SoftBank is to buy the existing Uber shares in a process called a tender offer, which takes at least a month to complete. Some of Uber's early investors, like the venture capital firm Benchmark, initially wanted to retain certain shareholder rights that they hold through their Uber stock, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions.

While Uber has become a global phenomenon operating in more than 600 cities and dozens of countries, it is trying to move past a series of scandals and missteps that have included executive misconduct, a toxic work atmosphere and potentially unethical competitive practices.

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A consortium of investors led by SoftBank and Dragoneer reportedly plan to invest $1 billion to $1.25 billion in Uber.

SoftBank also owns pieces of ride-hailing companies around the world, including Didi Chuxing in China, Ola in India, Grab in Southeast Asia and 99 in Brazil. If the deal is completed, Benchmark will drop a lawsuit against Kalanick, who will in return allow Uber's board directors to vote on his selected board appointees in the future. The deal is also tied to new governance rules that aim to distribute power more equally and bring more oversight to the company.

In turn, Kalanick must receive majority board approval should he want to replace the board seats over which he has control. "We are interested in Uber, but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank", he said in a statement. The newly-created position will help the company expand its focus on India.

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