Uber Sells Stake to SoftBank, Valuing Ride-Hailing Giant at $48 Billion

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SoftBank has bought a major stake in Uber at a steep 30pc discount, after a chaotic year in which the ride-hailing firm faced a string of scandals, saw its chief executive resign and was hit with United Kingdom city bans.

SoftBank itself will keep a 15 per cent stake, while the rest of the consortium will own approximately 3 per cent, according to a second person familiar with the matter. Earlier reports have indicated that Dragoneer Investment Group and existing Uber backer General Atlantic may be among the interested parties. Uber is losing more than US$1 billion each quarter, and a new cash infusion is critical. Additionally, SoftBank intends to invest about $1.25 billion in Uber at the higher valuation.

The group will buy most of the shares from early investors in a deal that values Uber at about $48bn (£35.7bn). The company is also planning an initial public offering in 2019.

Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisers, said the firm was "appreciative of the support from Uber's shareholders in the successful tender offer". Kalanick resigned from his post earlier this year after a number of scandals, but still maintains a seat on the company's board of directors, where he is surrounded by allies and controls 16 percent of the voting power.

"The stockholders did the smart thing".

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Ride-hailing company Uber is working on a deal to sell its USA auto-leasing business Xchange Leasing to startup digital vehicle marketplace Fair, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"We have tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees and are excited to support Uber".

Uber Technologies Inc said in September it was shutting down the auto-leasing business, which had heavy losses.

The moves come as Uber concludes a hard year, in which it faced a sexual harassment scandal, investigations by regulators and a lawsuit over allegedly stolen technology, among other challenges.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has taken a keen interest in ride-hailing companies around the world, and already has sizeable stakes in China's Didi, Brazil-based 99, India's Ola and Singapore's Grab, all of which have competed with Uber.

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