Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Business | By Eloise Houston

Softbank close to $1bn investment in Uber's driverless auto business

Softbank close to $1bn investment in Uber's driverless auto business

Uber and SoftBank declined to comment. Lyft, by contrast, said in its prospectus that its 2018 revenue totaled $2.2 billion and a loss of $911 million, which according to Axios would be the largest loss ever for a company entering the public markets for the first time.

As for SoftBank's investment in Uber specifically, the company is expected to nearly double its investment when Uber goes public in the coming months.

Uber, a global logistics and transportation company most recently valued at $US76 billion ($108 billion) in the private market, is seeking a valuation as high as $US120 billion, although some analysts have pegged its value closer to $US100 billion based on selected financial figures it has disclosed.

Uber is in a race with smaller rival Lyft, which has announced its own IPO, expected to be completed by the end of March.

Uber's revenue past year was $US11.3 billion, while its gross bookings from rides were $US50 billion.

Softbank's Vision Fund is in late stage talks to invest $US1 billion into the ride-hailing giant's self-driving vehicle unit, according to a person familiar with the matter. But the company lost $US3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russian Federation and Southeast Asia.

Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi will be tasked with convincing investors that he has successfully changed the company's culture and business practices after a series of embarrassing scandals over the last two years. This week, TechCrunch reported that at one point Uber was spending $20 million per month on its self-driving division, with the ambitious goal of having 75,000 autonomous vehicles on the road by this year.

Lyft's revenue for a year ago was $US2.2 billion, with $US8.1 billion in gross ride bookings.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, investors would purchase from a pool of Uber stock specifically earmarked for the self-driving technologies unit.

It operates in more than 70 countries and includes ride-hailing, bike and scooter rentals, freight hauling, food delivery and a self-driving auto division.

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