Less than a day after it agreed to put $2 billion into Southeast Asia’s Grab alongside Didi, SoftBank is being linked with an investment in Uber, the U.S. firm that rivals those two aforementioned ride-sharing companies.
A Wall Street Journal report claims SoftBank has been in touch with Uber with the apparent goal of buying a “multi-billion dollar stake” in the company. To date, Uber has raised close to $12 billion from investors, with its most recent valuation reportedly above $60 billion.
Uber declined to comment on the report. SoftBank is yet to respond to a request for comment.
Any investment is a wild scenario given that SoftBank has also backed Ola — Uber’s rival in India — but it isn’t something we haven’t heard before. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that SoftBank was in the driving seat to acquire shares from existing Uber investors amid concerns about the future of the company. That’s in response to the departure of CEO Travis Kalanick, senior VP Emil Michaels and other C-levels executives, and the findings of the Holder report which were released in June and triggered when former engineer Susan Fowler lifted the lid on a culture of sexism and sexual harassment at Uber.
According to the Journal, any investment — which could include fresh money for the company beyond secondary share sales — would happen after the appointment of the next Uber CEO, a process that is looking like it will take some time to be resolved.
SoftBank unveiled its blockbuster Vision Fund with an initial close of $93 billion in May, but that won’t be involved in any potential investment. That’s because the fund is not investing in ride-sharing companies due to conflicts of interest with Softbank Corp.