US: SoftBank bids to buy Uber stock at a 30% discount

Uber’s valuation may be looking at a haircut — Japan’s SoftBank is officially offering to purchase shares of the firm at a US$48 billion valuation. That is a 30% discount off of Uber’s most recent valuation of $68.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday, November 27.

That discount investment won’t just signal a value drop for Silicon Valley’s most famous startup, according to reports in Reuters — the funds will also set off a series of governance changes at Uber that would limit some early shareholders’ voting power and expand the board from 11 to 17 directors.

Both moves would greatly curtail the power and influence of former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is reportedly supportive of both the investment and the changes it will tip off — though it does come as a somewhat bitter coda on a year of scandals and change for Uber. Some of those scandals involved the treatment of female engineers within the firm, the complex and dramatic exit of Mr. Kalanik and the reveal last week that Uber went out of its way to cover over a hack.

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