- Softbank says the process of trying to get Uber to consider an investment was 'long and arduous.'
- But the deal hinges on pricing.
- If Softbank can't get 14% of the company, it may walk away.
Uber's board may have reached a deal to allow Softbank to invest up to ten billion dollars in the company, but Softbank says its investment is "by no means decided."
In a statement to CNBC, Rajeev Misra, CEO of Softbank Investment Advisors and a Board Director of Softbank Group, said, "After a long and arduous process of several months it looks like Uber and its shareholders have agreed to commence with a tender process and engage with SoftBank. By no means is our investment decided. We are interested in Uber but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank"
Over the weekend, Uber cleared the way for Softbank's tender offer to proceed, but sources tell CNBC that its success is far from guaranteed given Uber's fractured board.
Pricing is also an issue. Talks on the tender offer have reportedly centered on a valuation of around $50 billion. Uber has a current paper valuation of nearly $70 billion.
It's uncertain whether existing shareholders will want to sell at the price Softbank wants to pay.
And if Softbank isn't able to buy at least 14 percent of Uber, it can walk away.
According to a source, eligible employees with stock options are capped at selling half their holdings.
Benchmark and former CEO Travis Kalanick are two of the largest shareholders, and it's uncertain whether either party wants to sell any of their stake.
Sources say the deal was only able to go forward because they finally put aside their latest feud. Benchmark has agreed to suspend its lawsuit against Kalanick, and drop it completely once the tender offer goes through. In return, Kalanick has agreed that his two board seats -- currently held by John Thain and Ursula Burns -- would need majority approval from the board if they were to open up.
The stakes are high. If Softbank's tender offer is successful, it will pave the way for major governance changes at Uber and brings it closer to a 2019 IPO.