Uber selling shares to these 1 percenters

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Uber investors have higher barrier to entry through Merrill   

Uber may be years from an initial public offering, but it's already pushing stock to retail investors through Wall Street brokerages.

As part of the ride-sharing company's latest round of fundraising, high-net worth clients in the brokerage units of Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley will have an opportunity to invest in Uber stock, CNBC has learned.

It's not without precedent for Uber: In early 2015, the company sold $1.6 billion in convertible debt to Goldman Sachs' high-net-worth network. The average customer account size in the deal at the time was reported to be $40 million. Facebook, too, sold stock through Goldman's international retail in 2011, a year before it went public, at a valuation of $50 billion.

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The terms of the capital being raised through Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley are said to be identical, according to people who have seen the offerings. The deal values Uber at $62.5 billion and its shares at nearly $49 each, according to the sources.

Attendees wait for rides in the Uber Technologies area during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Attendees wait for rides in the Uber Technologies area during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

However, the banks are requiring very different levels of investment from their respective clients.

At Merrill Lynch, participation in the deal requires a minimum investment of $1 million and net worth of $100 million. Morgan Stanley is marketing a minimum investment to its clients of $250,000 — with some of these clients telling CNBC the net worth required is only $10 million.

It's a stark difference for two brokerages that have long competed fiercely for advisers, affluent clients and access to unique deals. Particularly, some Merrill clients are miffed that they're excluded from investing in Uber via Merrill Lynch — because of the wealth requirement — but would qualify at Morgan Stanley.

Uber is in the process of raising $2.1 billion in capital, of which roughly $1 billion was already committed by institutional investors in December 2015. The retail portion is expected to make up the remainder.

Merrill Lynch declined to comment.