Uber Board of Directors on Tuesday voted to finalize SoftBank's proposed investment and is now hoping to conclude the deal over the course of the next several weeks, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch. The transaction itself is expected to be the largest private stock sale in the history of trading and could see SoftBank commit between $8 billion and $10 billion to take as much as a 22 percent stake in the San Francisco, California-based company which is presently believed to be the world's most valuable startup.
Uber's $68 billion valuation could still take a hit should SoftBank go through with its investment seeing how the Japanese conglomerate is seeking to take a sizeable share of the firm at a significant discount, with this particular move prompting some major tensions at Uber in recent weeks. While some shareholders are warning that SoftBank's investment could devalue the ride-hailing service provider and hurt its future prospects, Uber's board yesterday voted to go through with the deal and continue the talks with the firm with the ultimate goal of concluding the investment later this fall. Uber's official statement on the matter refers to SoftBank's approach as "an incredible vote of confidence," signaling that the company's leadership dismissed concerns raised by some shareholders and is willing to sell a stake in the business to the conglomerate that already backed some of its rivals around the world.
The board voted on the matter in its full composition, including the two new directors Ursula Burns and Merrill Lynch who were nominated for the two empty seats on Friday by the firm's former Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Travis Kalanick. Kalanick's move was made behind the back of his successor who criticized the development, suggesting that power struggles at Uber are far from over. During the same meeting, the board reportedly stripped some shareholders of super-voting rights and limited the corporate pull of Kalanick to a degree, prompting investor Shervin Pishevar to announce a class action lawsuit, claiming that over 200 founding employees have been severely wronged by the decision which he called illegal. Pishevar is one of several investors who came to Kalanick's defense after another shareholder of Uber sued the ex-CEO for fraud this summer and his relationship with the multibillionaire may be called into question in regards to the potential lawsuit which Kalanick is likely to support, with previous reports indicating the co-founder is strongly opposed to having his power to appoint directors and make other significant decisions challenged.