Uber working to up SoftBank backing - Mobile World Live

Uber working to up SoftBank backing

14 MAR 2019

A consortium of companies including SoftBank plotted an investment of at least $1 billion in Uber’s self-driving vehicle division as the latter prepares for an IPO, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund, an auto maker and other parties would buy a minority stake in the business unit, valuing it at between $5 billion and $10 billion. Discussions are still ongoing and there is no certainty a deal will proceed, WSJ stated.

In a related report, Financial Times named Toyota as the car company involved.

WSJ said the move would provide Uber with a cash injection while allowing it to keep control of the operation and could help attract investors for the IPO. Potential backers reportedly expressed concern about its losses and are keen to see outside investment.

The newspaper said Uber will commence IPO proceedings next week with a view to conducting the process in May or June. The move could value the company at $120 billion.

WSJ noted having car makers invested in the autonomous vehicle would aid Uber in developing the technology needed for self-driving taxis.

Sources told WSJ Uber spent $750 million on its self-driving car programme in 2017, but made cuts in 2018. It temporarily took its autonomous cars off the road when one killed a pedestrian in the US.

In January 2018 reports stated a SoftBank-led consortium was set to acquire 17.5 per cent of Uber, while the VisionFund also pumped funds into a self-driving initiative from General Motors.

WSJ reported Toyota invested $500 million in Uber during 2018, covering work on self-driving cars. The car maker also invested in rival Grab during the year.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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