Uber said it has struck a deal with an investor group that could be worth as much as $10 billion and paves the way for the ride-sharing company to go public in 2019.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the investors, who are led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group, would buy $1 billion to $1.25 billion worth of new shares issued by Uber at its current valuation of about $69 billion.
The group also would make a tender offer — expected in about two weeks — to buy about 14% of existing shares from current investors at a price that has yet to be determined.
Uber’s board has also agreed to make various governance changes after the deal closes and committed to go public in 2019.
“We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential,” Uber said Sunday in a statement. “Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance.”
Under its founder and chief executive, Masayoshi Son, Softbank has moved aggressively to invest in overseas companies across different categories. It acquired Sprint in 2013 for $20 billion and invested $4.4 billion in New York commercial real estate startup WeWork in August.
Uber is currently the most highly valued startup in the world. “Though Uber lost $3 billion last year and continues to lose money, the company is one of the most closely watched IPO candidates,” Business Insider said.
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who is still a board member, had tried to put off an IPO as long as possible but he resigned in June after a string of controversies. His successor, Dara Khosrowshahi, said last week that Uber’s target is to go public in 2019.
“We have all of the disadvantages of being a public company as far as a spotlight on us, without any of the advantages of being a public company,” he said. So Travis and the whole board now agree that we should just go public.”