December 29, 2017

Uber’s no longer the world’s most valuable startup, capping off its annus horribilis

By Billy

Topping off ride-hailing app Uber’s terrible year, it has lost its spot as the world’s most valuable start to its arch rival, China’s Didi Chuxing.

A group of investors led by Japanese tech giant SoftBank was yesterday revealed to have bought around 17.5 percent of Uber in a deal that values the San Francisco-based company at $48bn.

SoftBank itself will keep a 15 percent stake, while the rest of the consortium — which includes Dragoneer Investment Group — will own about three percent.

Read more: These are the highest valued startups in the world right now

An Uber spokesperson said:

We look forward to working with the purchasers to close the overall transaction, which we expect to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance.

Rajeev Misra, the chief executive of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, a $98bn tech investment vehicle, will join the Uber board.

Misra said:

We have tremendous confidence in Uber’s leadership and employees and are excited to support Uber as it continues to reinvent how people and goods are transported around the world.

A disappointing end to Uber’s annus horribilis

Uber’s awful year includes a lawsuit by Google parent Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo, that alleges it stole tech secrets, while there are a number of federal investigations into the company involving possible bribery of foreign officials in Asian countries and the use of software to evade regulators.

A former Uber employee claimed the company is riddled with endemic sexual harassment and the company lost its licence to operate in London (though it continues to do so while the appeals process is ongoing).

Uber revealed it had covered up a major hack just last month and in June co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick was forced to step down, although he remains on the board and is still one of the largest stakeholders.

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