When most investors are distancing themselves from Uber, one individual is trying to get closer. Sources close to Softbank’s chief, Masayoshi Son, indicated Son is planning to put a multi-billion dollar stake in the ride-hailing company. This news comes as Uber announced that it planned to sell its shares to Softbank.
It is not clear, however, whether the investment by Softbank is final as the talks seems to be only preliminary and one-sided. If the deal were to go through, then this would be a valuable, albeit, controversial kitty in the bag for Softbank, who is currently on an investment spree.
The financial institution is already a key investor in Asia’s three largest ride hailing companies: Didi Chuxing, the cab service provider from China that collaborated with Uber; Ola, which is said to be Uber’s competitor in India; and Grab, Singapore’s ride-hailing company. Sources indicate a major fund flow of $2.5 billion for Grab to expand its fleet and market coverage.
Having made a series of investments in ride hailing companies, Softbank’s Vision Fund, the venture arm of Softbank, is now the largest tech-investment company in the world with a portfolio of $100 billion in capital. Son may now be hedging his own bets. Analysts say that this looks like a smarter move, considering the fact that the market is in a consolidation phase.
Uber seems to be in collaboration mode, which is understandable since the company is desperately in need of direction at the top. It’s still looking for a CEO who can drive the company toward long-term and sustainable growth.
Meanwhile, the company joined with Russian company Yandex. Last year, former CEO Travis Kalanick decided to sell its Chinese operations to competitor, Didi Chuxing.