SoftBank has said its investment deal with cab-hailing app Uber is yet to be decided and will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding offered to the Japanese conglomerate. Uber has entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer to explore a potential investment that some reports suggest could be worth of up to USD 10 billion. SoftBank Investment Advisors and SoftBank Group Corp Board Director, Rajeev Misra emphasised that “by no means is our investment decided”. “We are interested in Uber, but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank,” he said in a statement. Misra noted that Uber and its shareholders had agreed to commence with a tender process and engage with SoftBank after a “long and arduous process of several months”. In a separate statement, Uber said if conditions on share price and minimum shares are not “satisfactory” for the SoftBank group, “there is a possibility” that it may not make an investment. Uber had said funds from SoftBank, subject to the closure of the deal, would help the US-based startup fuel investments in technology and expansion in its home market as well as other countries. If the deal materialises, SoftBank would be an investor in two of India’s largest on-demand cab service — Uber and Ola.
Interestingly, Ola and Uber are locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market. Both companies have pumped in millions of dollars towards rider discounts and driver incentives. For Uber, India is one of its largest markets where it has seen strong growth. It saw the number of completed trips on its platform grow to 41.3 million in July this year, from 19.2 million in July 2016, a jump of 115 per cent. However, the world’s most funded startup has also had its share of troubles in the Indian market.
The company was temporarily banned in New Delhi after one of the drivers on its platform allegedly raped a woman passenger in 2014. In a recent development, its Head of Public Policy (India and South Asia) Shweta Rajpal Kohli has resigned from the company. In her role, she was responsible for Uber’s relations with policymakers, regulators and government officials. She had joined the organisation last year.