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SoftBank says considering investment in Uber but no final agreement reached

2017-11-13T014742Z_648033607_RC1634175770_RTRMADP_3_UBER-SOFTBANK.JPG
Japan's SoftBank Group Corp said on Tuesday that it was considering investing in Uber Technologies but there was no final agreement at this stage.

[TOKYO] - Japan's SoftBank Group Corp said on Tuesday it was considering investing in Uber Technologies Inc but there was no final agreement at this stage.

"If conditions on share price and a minimum of shares are not satisfactory for the SoftBank Group side, there is a possibility the SoftBank Group may not make an investment," it said in a statement.

Uber said this week that a planned deal with SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group was moving forward. The investment could be worth up to US$10 billion, two people familiar with the matter have said..

SoftBank and Dragoneer are leading a consortium that plans to invest US$1 billion to US$1.25 billion in Uber, the mostly highly valued venture-backed company in the world, along with a purchase of up to 17 per cent of existing shares in a secondary transaction.

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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.

The Japanese tech and telecoms firm has become a prolific investor in ride sharing firms such as China's Didi and India's Ola as it works to achieve SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son's vision of a future driven by artificial intelligence and interconnected devices.

Earlier on Monday, sources said Uber's chief of policy for India and South Asia had quit in the latest high-level departure at the online taxi company.

Shweta Rajpal Kohli, a former Indian journalist who joined Uber last year, would join cloud-based software maker Salesforce.com Inc next month, the sources told Reuters.

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

Kohli was mostly tasked with building Uber's relations with regulators and government officials in India, a market where the firm has faced several regulatory and reputational hurdles.

One source said Kohli "was leading government engagements in the influential circles, so her exit is a step back for Uber." Uber was briefly banned in New Delhi after one of its drivers raped a woman passenger in 2014.

Uber hired a law firm this year to investigate how the firm managed to obtain the medical records of the rape victim, an incident that led to criticism of the culture at the US firm, sources told Reuters in June. Uber declined to comment.

Kohli is the latest senior executive to leave Uber. The firm's European policy chief quit in October, shortly after the departure of Uber's top boss in Britain.

Uber counts India as its second-biggest market after the United States. It operates in about 30 Indian cities and competes with Ola, a ride hailing service backed by Japan's Softbank.

REUTERS

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