Uber seals multibillion-dollar investment from Softbank

In this July 20, 2017, photo, SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, left, speaks during a SoftBank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo. (AP)
Updated 13 November 2017

Uber seals multibillion-dollar investment from Softbank

DETROIT: Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank has reached a deal with Uber to invest billions in the ride-hailing giant.
Uber Technologies Inc. confirmed the investment in a statement Sunday without giving details.
But a person briefed on the deal told The Associated Press that SoftBank Group will buy about $1 billion worth of new Uber stock, then will offer to purchase shares from investors and Uber employees with the goal of reaching a 14 percent stake in the company. Uber currently is valued at $68.5 billion, but stock offers will be based on a lower valuation, so it’s unknown just how much the total deal multibillion-dollar deal will be worth, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details were not released.
Uber’s statement said it reached an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer Investment Group. The deal is a vote of confidence in the company’s potential and “will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance,” the statement said.
The move also clears the way for Uber, among the most valuable tech firms in the world, to sell stock to the public. Under the deal, the initial public offering will take place before the end of 2019.
The long-awaited deal was made public in October but was delayed by a corporate governance and legal dispute between investor Benchmark Capital and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick. Both sides ended their feud on Sunday, clearing the way for the SoftBank investment, the person said.
Kalanick, who controls three of 11 seats on the Uber board, agreed to allow a majority of board members to vote on any future appointments he makes, according to the person. Benchmark agreed to suspend a lawsuit against Kalanick and drop it once Softbank gets through a one-month tender offer period that will start in about two weeks. Benchmark, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm that was among Uber’s early backers, alleged in the lawsuit that Kalanick covered up turmoil and legal threats at Uber.
The deal allows early investors such as Benchmark to sell at least some of their shares at a handsome profit. But there will likely be some wrangling over how much shares are worth in the coming weeks.


China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

Updated 12 December 2019

China's aviation regulator raised concerns with Boeing on 737 MAX design changes

  • China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane
  • China was first country to ground plane in March

BEIJING: China’s aviation regulator raised “important concerns” with Boeing Co. on the reliability and security of design changes to the grounded 737 MAX, it said on Thursday, but declined to comment on when the plane might fly again in China.
China is reviewing the airworthiness of the plane based on proposed changes to software and flight control systems according to a bilateral agreement with the United States, Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) spokesman Liu Luxu told reporters at a monthly briefing.
He reiterated that for the plane to resume flights in China, it needed to be re-certified, pilots needed comprehensive and effective training to restore confidence in the model and the causes of two crashes that killed 346 people needed to be investigated with effective measures put in place to prevent another one.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX after the second crash in Ethiopia in March and had set up a task force to review design changes to the aircraft that Boeing had submitted.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not allow the 737 MAX to resume flying before the end of 2019, its chief, Steve Dickson, said on Wednesday.
Once the FAA approves the reintroduction into service, the 737 MAX can operate in the United States, but individual regulators could keep the planes grounded in other countries until they complete their own reviews.
“Due to the trade war, the jury is still out on when China would reintroduce the aircraft,” said Rob Morris, Global Head of Consultancy at Ascend by Cirium.
Chinese airlines had 97 737 MAX jets in operation before the global grounding, the most of any country, according to Cirium Fleets Analyzer.