Uber CEO on SoftBank deal: ‘It hasn’t happened yet but it will’

Dara Khosrowshahi.

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Dara Khosrowshahi.
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    SoftBank’s delayed deal with Uber is still happening, according to Uber’s CEO. SoftBank’s CEO recently suggested that his massive investment could be pulled and given to competitor Lyft. Uber and SoftBank still haven’t decided on the price of the deal.

NEW YORK – SoftBank’s massive investment in Uber isn’t in jeopardy despite prolonged negotiations over the terms of the deal, according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

“It hasn’t happened yet but it will,” Khosrowshahi said Thursday at The New York Times DealBook conference.

In early October, Uber’s board agreed to move forward with talks of a multibillion-dollar deal to give Japan’s Softbank a roughly 20% stake. But the deal has yet to materialize mainly due to disagreements over the price. Earlier this week, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son suggested that SoftBank could still pull out of the investment at the last minute and decide to back Uber’s chief rival, Lyft, instead.

Khosrowshahi said Thursday during his first public interview as Uber’s new CEO that “we have got to get the right price,” an indication that there are still disagreements over how to price Uber’s shares. “There are negotiations taking longer than they should,” he said.

Uber board member Arianna Huffington said in mid-October that the terms of the investment would be finalized “very likely in the next week.” Three weeks later, it appears the deal is still in limbo.

In terms of Uber’s current business, Khosrowshahi said Thursday that the US would not be a “particularly profitable market for the next 6 months” due to aggressive competition from Lyft. He said Uber was working to get its service back up and running in London after regulators pulled its operating license in September.

Khosrowshahi also said that Uber’s board had collectively decided to go public by 2019, a reverse from ex-CEO Travis Kalanick’s position that the company should delay going public for as long as possible.