Uber-SoftBank deal has closed, making SoftBank largest shareholder

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A group of investors led by SoftBank Group Corp closed a deal with Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday, making SoftBank the largest stakeholder in the ride-services firm and providing a much-needed boost to controversy-ridden Uber.

The SoftBank-led deal includes a large purchase of shares from existing Uber investors and employees at a discounted valuation for the company of $48 billion, a 30 percent drop from Uber’s most recent valuation of $68 billion. These secondary stock sales will be completed by the end of the day Thursday on the Nasdaq Private market, an Uber spokesman said.

The investor group has also completed a $1.25 billion investment of fresh cash at the other, higher valuation, the spokesman said.

In all, the investors will take a 17.5 percent stake in Uber, with SoftBank keeping 15 percent, becoming the company’s largest shareholder, people familiar with the deal said. The investment also triggers a number of governance changes at Uber, including the addition of new board members. (Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)