Uber-SoftBank deal has closed, making SoftBank largest shareholder

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A group of investors led by SoftBank Group Corp closed a deal with Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday, making SoftBank the largest stakeholder in the ride-services firm and providing a much-needed boost to controversy-ridden Uber.

The deal includes a large purchase of shares from existing Uber investors and employees at a discounted valuation for the company of $48 billion, a 30-percent drop from Uber's most recent valuation of $68 billion. These secondary stock sales will be completed by the end of the day Thursday on the Nasdaq Private Market, an Uber spokesman said.

The investor group, which is co-led by SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group, has also completed a $1.25-billion investment of fresh cash at the other, higher valuation, the spokesman said.

RELATED: Salaries of employees at 25 top tech companies

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Salaries of employees at 25 top tech companies

Google

Average annual bonus: $32,478

Average sign-on bonus: $27,547

Average annual base salary: $136,000

Netflix

Average annual bonus: $0

Average sign-on bonus: $3,520

Average annual base salary: $206,000

Twitter

Average annual bonus: $120

Average sign-on bonus: $26,144

Average annual base salary: $149,000

Apple

Average annual bonus: $20,298

Average sign-on bonus: $27,201

Average annual base salary: $102,000

Facebook

Average annual bonus: $33,225

Average sign-on bonus: $45,708

Average annual base salary: $145,000

Oculus VR

Average annual bonus: $395

Average sign-on bonus: $6,926

Average annual base salary: $119,000

Amazon

Average annual bonus: $24,732

Average sign-on bonus: $41,340

Average annual base salary: $118,000

Square

Average annual bonus: $988

Average sign-on bonus: $17,996

Average annual base salary: $134,000

Uber

Average annual bonus: $31,633

Average sign-on bonus: $1,807

Average annual base salary: $117,000

Pinterest 

Average annual bonus: $4,374

Average sign-on bonus: $33,376

Average annual base salary: $151,000

Tesla

Average annual bonus: $4,779

Average sign-on bonus: $19,447

Average annual base salary: $105,000

UnitedHealth Group

Average annual bonus: $7,280

Average sign-on bonus: $118

Average annual base salary: $87,000

Snap Inc.

Average annual bonus: $10,588

Average sign-on bonus: $23,705

Average annual base salary: $127,000

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co.

Average annual bonus: $10,756

Average sign-on bonus: $8,265

Average annual base salary: $131,000

CSRA

Average annual bonus: $13,732

Average sign-on bonus: $1,186

Average annual base salary: $100,000

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Capital One

Average annual bonus: $15,114

Average sign-on bonus: $8,568

Average annual base salary: $107,000

Fitbit

Average annual bonus: $18,069

Average sign-on bonus: $25,459

Average annual base salary: $128,000

Pandora

Average annual bonus: $22,316

Average sign-on bonus: $18,886

Average annual base salary: $109,000

Microsoft 

Average annual bonus: $23,224

Average sign-on bonus: $20,191

Average annual base salary: $179,000

Airbnb

Average annual bonus: $23,250

Average sign-on bonus: $23,250

Average annual base salary: $124,000

Arista Networks

Average annual bonus: $27,497

Average sign-on bonus: $18,652

Average annual base salary: $151,000

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Linkedin

Average annual bonus: $32,216

Average sign-on bonus: $25,418

Average annual base salary: $149,000

Dropbox

Average annual bonus: $32,707

Average sign-on bonus: $32,833

Average annual base salary: $144,000

VMware

Average annual bonus: $33,145

Average sign-on bonus: $18,851

Average annual base salary: $147,000

Salesforce

Average annual bonus: $39,959

Average sign-on bonus: $28,314

Average annual base salary: $142,000

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In all, the investors will take a 17.5-percent stake in Uber, with SoftBank keeping 15 percent, becoming the company's largest shareholder. The investment triggers a number of governance changes at Uber, including the addition of new board members, which take effect immediately.

"This is a great outcome for our shareholders, employees and customers, strengthening Uber's governance as we double down on our technology investments and continue to bring our services to more people in more places around the world," said the Uber spokesman.

SoftBank has added two representatives to Uber's board of directors: Rajeev Misra, who is chief executive of SoftBank's Vision Fund, a $98-billion tech investment vehicle; and Marcelo Claure, Sprint president and CEO and a member of SoftBank's board of directors, according to a person familiar with the matter.

"Uber has a very bright future under its new leadership," Misra said, referring to new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who helped broker the deal and benefits from the new governance changes.

As part of the terms of the deal, the company will add four independent directors to its board, limit some early shareholders' voting power and slash the control wielded by co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, who remains on the board.

Early Uber investor Benchmark Capital had also agreed to drop a lawsuit against Kalanick, filed in August in an effort to force him off the board, upon completion of the deal.

SoftBank had no trouble drumming up interest among shareholders, as many investors and employees were unable to sell as many shares as they would have liked because SoftBank had put limits on how much it would buy.

Kalanick sold nearly a third of his 10-percent stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. He had offered to sell half of his shares. (Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Sandra Maler)

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