Uber set for huge investment from Softbank as it approves IPO plans

Investment expected to be in the region of $1bn (£750m) and $1.25bn.

Uber loses London license and people are freaking outWochit

Uber has approved a massive investment worth just under £1bn (€1.13bn) from Japanese telecoms and technology giant Softbank.

According to unnamed sources closed to the cab hailing service company, the investment is expected to be in the region of $1bn (£750m) and $1.25bn. For the Japanese firm, Uber represents the third major investment in a ride-sharing company, having previously backed China's Didi Chuxing and Southeast Asian taxi-hailing app Grab.

In July, DiDi Softbank invested a combined $2bn in Grab, which operates in seven countries in South East Asia. DiDi controls an 87% market share of the taxi-hailing market in China and merged with Uber China last year.

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"SoftBank's interest is an incredible vote of confidence in Uber's business and long-term potential, and we look forward to finalizing the investment in the coming weeks," Uber said in a statement late on Tuesday night (3 October).

Meanwhile, the US-based company also confirmed its board had approved plans to hold an initial public offering in 2019, suggesting the company's hierarchy had recovered some degree of unity after being plagued by scandal in recent months.

"The board voted unanimously to move forward with the proposed investment by Softbank and with governance changes that would strengthen its independence and ensure equality among all shareholders," the company added.

Separately, Uber also approved a number of governance changes, which include the expansion of its board and significant changes to voting rights. The reforms appear to be designed to take power away from former chief executive Travis Kalanick, who resigned in June following pressure from shareholders over sexual harassment claims and other scandals but remains on the board.

The changes in governance, however, are contingent on Softbank's investment going through.

On Tuesday (3 October), Kalanick's successor, Dara Khosrowshahi, met with Transport for London's Commissioner Mike Brown just days after TFL refused to renew the cab-hailing app's licence to operate.

A day earlier, Jo Bertram, the taxi- hailing firm's London-based head of northern Europe affairs, quit her role suggesting "a change of face" was needed at the business she had worked at for the last four years.

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Uber wants to keep operating in the capital, and has appealed the decision that it is not a "fit and proper operator."

London transport officials have objected to Uber's approach to reporting serious criminal offences and its use of technology, which authorities say has helped the company to evade law enforcement officials.

Khosrowshahi has apologised for past mistakes. Uber, with some 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers in London, says it is challenging the decision with the understanding that things have gone wrong and must change.

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