The last 18 months or so have been difficult for ride-sharing giant, Uber; however, it appears the tide is turning for the San Francisco-based firm.
The company announced that Japan’s SoftBank is partnering with Dragoneer Investment Group to buy $1 billion of Uber Technologies stock.
“We’ve entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment,” Uber said in a statement. “We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber’s long-term potential.”
SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate has become very active in Silicon Valley, Dragoneer buy $1 billion to $1.25 billion in Uber. Additionally, it will buy stock from other investors with a goal of reaching a 14% ownership stake in the company.
The company noted that the agreement “will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance,” the statement said.
The big news out of the deal is that once complete, it will permit the company to move forward with a long-awaited IPO. Uber is valued at $68.5 billion, but it’s all locked up in private shares held by investors, founder Travis Kalanick and employees.
Kalanick and some investors part of the reason the deal took time to be completed as they had issues with some tenets of the agreement. Those have been resolved, and the initial public offering is expected to take place before the end of 2019.
The company’s ongoing battle with the city of London as well as its drivers may be settled with a new compromise. Last week, the company suffered a setback when the U.K. employment tribunal found against Uber in its appeal about the classification of drivers as employees, not self-employed contractors.
This would ascribe a series of rather expensive “rights” to drivers, such as vacation time, sick leave and a minimum wage. Uber has always treated the drivers as self-employed contractors. The company is also battling to get its business license back so that it can operate in London.
It’s where these to meet that compromise may be had. London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Sunday he supported efforts by the city’s transport regulator Transport for London to try to reach a compromise with Uber after the taxi app confirmed it would appeal in a running row over workers’ rights, according to The Guardian.
“Uber are challenging Transport for London through the courts as is their right to do so … I support the TFL commissioner meeting with the global CEO of Uber to see if we can reach a compromise,” Khan told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.