Japan's SoftBank Will Buy 15 Percent Stake in Uber

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. SoftBank has access to all kinds of technology that could be relevant to Uber's self-driving vehicle plans via its other investments, and with its help, Uber will be better positioned to expand into Asia.

SoftBank's investment is a sign of support from an influential investor for new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber suffered another blow this month when the European Union's top court ruled that the ride-share company should be regulated like a taxi company and not a technology service, a decision that could change the way Uber functions across the continent and crimp its future profit potential.

The moves come as Uber concludes a hard year, in which it faced a sexual harassment scandal, investigations by regulators and a lawsuit over allegedly stolen technology, among other challenges.

But for Uber's existing investors and the ego of founder Travis Kalanick, the deal has some very bad news.

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Still, the price is at a 30 percent discount to the most recent valuation of $68 billion.

Uber now has a powerful strategic partner in SoftBank, the Japanese telecom giant that is investing hundreds of billions of dollars in technology.

The Journal further reports that SoftBank will receive two seats on Uber's board of directors. The WSJ's reporting suggests that SoftBank's successful offer valued Uber at $48 billion.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that SoftBank wants to appoint to Uber's board Rajeev Misra, who runs the Vision Fund, and Marcelo Claure, the chief executive of Sprint.

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