Uber co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick is finally set to become a "real" billionaire due to SoftBank's investment in the ride-hailing service provider, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing sources close to the company. Mr. Kalanick is supposedly preparing to sell 29 percent of his 10 percent stake in the San Francisco, California-based startup and has reportedly offered as much as half of it while SoftBank's tender offer for the firm was still on the table. The 41-year-old previously claimed he never sold a single share of Uber and it's unclear why he now decided to join the investors cashing out on the company at a significantly reduced value compared to the firm's last private funding round that valued it at $68.5 billion in 2014, unofficially awarding it the title of the world's most valuable startup.
While SoftBank's bid demanded a 30 percent discount and valued Uber at approximately $48 billion, Mr. Kalanick reportedly offered to sell half of his stake to the Japanese tech giant, the maximum allowed to board members by the terms of SoftBank's tender proposal. As per the same agreement, other shareholders weren't allowed to offer more than 58 percent of their stakes. Seeing how the proposal was a massive success and attracted more willing sellers than the suitor was prepared to pay out, Mr. Kalanick's offer was automatically slashed by 42 percent and will ultimately see him sell a 2.9 percent stake in Uber. That share will net him approximately $1.4 billion in cash and see him finally become an actual billionaire. So far, Mr. Kalanick's net worth was largely dependent on Uber's paper valuation which came under some question marks following SoftBank's approach to invest more than $10 billion into the company at a major discount, prompting a number of investors to start expressing doubts about the firm's ability to justify its 2014 funding round by actually making money in the long term.
SoftBank's investment in Uber should officially close later this month and additionally limit Mr. Kalanick's powers at the company whose investors ousted him over the summer following a series of corporate scandals. Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi recently stated the startup is now targeting a 2019 IPO, whereas SoftBank is also set to inject $1 billion in cash at the firm's 2014 valuation once the investment is concluded so as to alleviate significantly devaluing it with the steep discount it received.