Uber valued at $48bn after consortium secures shares deal

Uber valued at $48bn after consortium secures shares deal

Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Uber employees and investors have tendered shares equal to around 20 percent of the company. It also paves the way for an overhaul of the company after a turbulent year, complete with criminal probes, a lawsuit over trade secrets allegedly stolen from Google's self-driving auto division and internal investigations into its toxic company culture.

The change is expected to reduce the influence of former chief executive Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from the top role in June but remains a board member. Other members of SoftBank's bidding group are likely to buy part of the remaining shares on offer, the people said.

The investor group is also buying about $1.25bn worth of new shares at a price that values the firm at nearly $70bn, a significantly higher price that is similar to what Uber shares fetched in its last fundraising round.

The deal will allow SoftBank to invest a significant amount of its "Vision Fund", a $100 billion fund earmarked for technology-focused companies around the world.

Getting the company ready to go public will be Khosrowshahi's ultimate goal over the next year, though it won't be easy.

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"The stockholders did the smart thing", said Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

The deal will also benefit Uber's employees, drivers and riders, said Chris Sacca, founder and head of Lowercase Capital, a major Uber shareholder that did not sell shares in SoftBank's tender offer. In a recent board agreement, Uber's directors said they expected the company to begin the IPO process by 2019. Didi last week raised US$4 billion, including some investment from SoftBank.

The Japanese investment firm has succeeded in its big push to buy up around 15% of Uber at a 30% discount, the ride-sharing company confirms.

The Uber investment comes after a year of troubles for the company, including a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc's self-driving auto unit Waymo that alleges trade-secrets theft and federal investigations that span possible bribery of foreign officials in Asian countries and the use of software to evade regulators.

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