Kalanick to sell 29% of his stake in Uber amid SoftBank deal

Former Uber Technologies Inc chief executive officer Travis Kalanick, who has long boasted that he has never sold any shares in the company he co-founded, plans to sell about 29 per cent of his stake in the ride-hailing company, Bloomberg and Reuters reported citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Uber co-founder Kalanick, who was ousted as chief executive in June, is selling nearly a third of his 10 per cent stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The sale is part of a deal struck with a consortium led by SoftBank Group Corp which is taking a 17.5 per cent stake in Uber, mostly by buying shares from early investors and employees. SoftBank last week secured agreements from shareholders who were willing to sell, and the deal will close early this year, Uber said (See: SoftBank-led group to buy 20% stake in Uber at 30% discount).

The SoftBank deal values Uber at $48 billion, about a 30-per cent discount from its most recent valuation of $68 billion. However, the investor consortium is also making a $1.25-billion investment of fresh funding at the older, higher valuation.

Kalanick had offered to sell half of his total shares, but because there was a limit on how much SoftBank will buy, he will sell just 29 per cent. Other investors also did not get to unload as many shares as they had hoped because of such widespread interest to sell.

The former CEO will unload 2.9 per cent of Uber shares, earning him about $1.4 billion.

A spokesman for Kalanick declined to comment. SoftBank and Uber could not be reached immediately by media for comment.

The sale would make the Uber co-founder a billionaire for the first time, not just on paper. Kalanick has never before sold shares of the company he ran for almost a decade.

The SoftBank deal offers investors and employees what could be their last chance to sell shares in a company-approved transaction before Uber's long awaited initial public offering, planned for 2019.

The transaction marks a victory for new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who helped broker the deal and who will benefit from a deep-pocketed investor like SoftBank.