Uber closes multibillion-dollar deal with SoftBank

Uber closes multibillion-dollar deal with SoftBank

Uber reached a multibillion-dollar deal with SoftBank on Thursday, as the ride-hailing company prepares to go public.

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A group of Uber shareholders that owns high volumes of company equity agreed to sell a significant stake to SoftBank, a Japanese multinational technology and telecommunications firm, allowing the deal to go through.

The Japanese firm plans to acquire at least 14 percent of the ride-hailing company, The New York Times reports.

SoftBank will purchase the shares for $33 each, putting Uber’s value at $48 billion, a significant discount from its previous valuation of $70 billion. 

“We look forward to working with the purchasers to close the overall transaction, which we expect to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance,” an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

SoftBank’s purchase marks CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's first major deal since taking the reins of the embattled company from Travis Kalanick after a year of repeated public relations debacles and unforced errors.

Khosrowshahi has said he plans to take Uber public as soon as 2019 and the deal with SoftBank will help that process by calming investors who feared the repercussions of Uber’s string of scandals.

The deal will make up a significant portion of SoftBank’s $100 million “Vision Fund” which targets technology firms around the world.