SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks with Uber Technologies Inc. to take a substantial stake in the car-hailing service, but only if it can buy the shares at a steep discount, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Japanese firm could invest as much as US$10 billion, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.
If the deal pushes through, SoftBank will have major stakes in nearly all of the world’s leading ride-hailing firms.
SoftBank and its US$93 billion tech-focused Vision Fund are proposing to buy 17 to 22 percent of Uber through a combination of share purchases from the company and a tender offer to employees and investors, the newspaper said.
However, the tender offer would represent a discount of 30 percent or more from Uber’s last valuation of almost US$70 billion, the Journal said, citing its sources.
Such a proposal may not sit well with shareholders as it could devalue the company while it is preparing for an initial public offering in as few as 18 months, the newspaper said.
As part of the offer, SoftBank is also seeking two board seats, adding to Uber’s nine sitting directors, the report said.
Negotiations could conclude as early as next week, one source told the Journal. Uber and SoftBank declined to comment.
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