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Uber to disclose price on SoftBank deal early next week: sources

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Uber Technologies Inc plans to move ahead with a deal to bring in Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp as a major investor by disclosing the pricing early next week in formal tender offers to the ride-hailing service's investors, two people familiar with the plans said on Friday.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Uber Technologies Inc plans to move ahead with a deal to bring in Japanese technology company SoftBank Group Corp as a major investor by disclosing the pricing early next week in formal tender offers to the ride-hailing service's investors, two people familiar with the plans said on Friday.

The start of the tender follows Uber's disclosure on Tuesday that it covered up a 2016 data breach which compromised data of some 57 million customers and drivers. That revelation prompted governments around the world to launch probes into the breach and Uber's handling of the matter.

The people familiar with the plans did not say how much investors would be offered for the shares, or say if the price had been cut do to the breach or governments' response to the disclosure.

Investors will have 20 business days, or about a month, to respond to emails and letters to be sent early next week, said one of the sources, who declined to be named because they were not authorised to discuss terms before they are public.

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SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group agreed on Nov 12 to lead a group that would invest as much as US$10 billion in Uber, people familiar with the deal previously told Reuters. They plan to directly invest US$1 billion to US$1.25 billion in Uber, then buy as much as 17 per cent of shares held by existing investors and employees.

Selling shareholders must be accredited investors as defined by US regulations and hold at least 10,000 shares of the firm, Uber said in ads published Wednesday in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Uber is valued at US$69 billion, the highest of any venture backed company.

SoftBank's US$1 billion direct investment in Uber is expected to be at the same valuation. Employees and existing investors will be paid a lower price for their shares in a tender that will likely take weeks to complete, people familiar with the Nov 12 agreement told Reuters.

Purchasers of startup shares through secondary deals service provider SharesPost discount a company's valuation by as much as 25 per cent depending on liquidity options and scarcity, said Rohit Kulkarni, the company's managing director for private investment research. That would value Uber at about US$52 billion.

Mr Kulkarni said he expected SoftBank to apply an "incremental discount" because of the data breach. Verizon, he noted, cut its US$4.8 billion Yahoo Inc takeover offer 7 per cent following disclosure at the time of breaches affecting 1 billion accounts.

REUTERS

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