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SoftBank is not talking to Uber about buying shares, says source

  • Uber backers have discussed selling shares to SoftBank and others, Bloomberg reported.
  • Benchmark, one of Uber's early investors, is among the investors in talks to sell shares, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.
  • However, a source told CNBC that Softbank is not talking to Uber about buying shares.
Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank.

Uber's board and shareholders have discussed selling some shares to SoftBank and other companies, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Venture capital firm Benchmark, one of Uber's early investors, is among the investors in talks to sell shares, unnamed sources told Bloomberg. Such a deal could provide new money into the ride-hailing company, Bloomberg added, citing the sources.

However, a source familiar with Softbank's plans said it is not in discussions to purchase Uber stock.

Uber was not immediately available to comment on the report. Investor TPG, which has board membership at Uber, declined to comment.

CNBC reported last month that Uber insiders are seeking to sell shares. In fact, Uber execs think allowing some employees to do so might help boost morale inside the company. The call will be up to Uber's board of directors, since most of the senior staff has departed the company in recent weeks.

A sale would mark another massive change in the relationship between Uber and Benchmark, which reportedly helped lead the ouster of CEO Travis Kalanick earlier this year. Bill Gurley, long-time Uber board member, was replaced on Uber's board this summer.

SoftBank has been on an investment spree in the transportation space and beyond, investing in Brazil 99, Didi Chuxing and Lyft. Earlier Friday, reports said that SoftBank was considering a freshinvestment in Uber's Singapore-based rival, Grab.

CEO Masayoshi Son has proclaimed an ambitious vision spanning over the next century to invest in emerging technologies. To that end, the Japan-based conglomerate tied up with backers like Apple and Oracle's Larry Ellison. It's unclear if this deal would be related to that fund.

Read the full Bloomberg report here.

— CNBC's John Shinal, Deirdre Bosa, and Sally Shin contributed to this report.

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