By Douglas MacMillan
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 5, 2018).
Travis Kalanick plans to sell 29% of his shares in Uber Technologies Inc., the ride-hailing giant he co-founded, as part of a broader investment deal led by SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Kalanick, who was pushed out from his role as Uber's chief executive last year but remains on the board, plans to sell the stake of about $1.4 billion in the tender offer for Uber shares by a SoftBank-led consortium, the people said. That tender offer, which concluded late last month, values Uber at $48 billion -- a roughly 30% discount to its most recent valuation of about $68 billion but still a huge premium for early investors and employees like Mr. Kalanick.
As part of the deal, SoftBank also plans to invest about $1.25 billion in Uber at the $68 billion valuation. It will end up owning 15% of Uber, and other members of its bidding group will get a stake of around 3%, The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
The deal provides the first opportunity for Mr. Kalanick, long a billionaire on paper, to cash out a portion of his stake in the company, at a time when he has withdrawn from the day-to-day operations of the company.
Still, it comes as a surprise, because Mr. Kalanick, who holds about 10% of Uber, had indicated he wouldn't sell shares into the offer, people familiar with the matter have said previously.
Bloomberg earlier reported news of Mr. Kalanick's planned share sale.
Dara Khosrowshahi, Mr. Kalanick's successor, pushed for the Softbank deal over several months of rocky negotiations. In October, Uber's board unanimously approved terms of a deal that would give SoftBank significant influence over corporate governance while diminishing the power of Mr. Kalanick. The board added new directors and stripped away the "supervoting" rights that had given Mr. Kalanick outsize control over key decisions.
Mr. Kalanick initially offered to sell half of his shares in the tender offer, the people familiar said. However, terms of the deal prevented any shareholder from selling more than 58% of offered shares.
The entrepreneur's presence has loomed over the company he built even after his departure as CEO. A bitter threat between him and a major investor, Benchmark, threatened to derail the SoftBank deal, but was resolved in November.
Mr. Kalanick controls three Uber board seats, one he occupies and two he appointed to others to fill. In a move in September that surprised fellow board members, he appointed two new directors -- Xerox Corp. ex-CEO Ursula Burns and CIT Group Inc. ex-CEO John Thain -- to fill those seats.
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