Uber closed a multibillion-dollar deal led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank on Thursday, allowing some of the company’s largest shareholders to divest. It marks the first significant piece of business for new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now preparing the embattled ride-hailing company to go public by 2019.

In a process known as a tender offer, which allows outsiders to buy shares in a private company at a mutually agreed-upon price, some Uber employees, executives, and early investors sold off what amounted to a little more than a 17% stake in the company to a consortium of investors led by SoftBank, according to a source familiar with the transaction. The Japanese telecommunications giant acquired about 15% of the company in the deal, which valued Uber at $48 billion and included an additional $1.25 billion to buy shares directly from the company. Other investors, including Dragoneer Investment Group, scooped up the remaining 2%.

The tender offer valued Uber at about 30% less than the $69 billion it was pegged at in June 2016, after the company sold a chunk of shares to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund for $3.5 billion. Since then, Uber, which has yet to turn an annual profit, has endured scandal after scandal, changing how investors and the general public view the company.

The completion of the deal is the first significant achievement for Khosrowshahi, who took over in August after an ugly year at Uber defined by sexual harassment and discrimination allegations, executive misbehavior, lawsuits, and plenty of finger-pointing within the company’s board room. With this tender…

[SOURCE]