SoftBank acquires a 20 percent stake in Uber

SoftBank acquires a 20 percent stake in Uber

Other members of SoftBank's bidding group.

The deal will reportedly also install six new directors to Uber (two of them from SoftBank), and all of the company's investors will see increased voting rights.

As part of the deal, expected to close early next year, Uber will offer potential drivers in the United States access to Fair to lease a vehicle, the Journal reported. On Thursday it said that existing investors had agreed to sell enough shares for SoftBank to go through with the transaction.

Earlier on Thursday, SoftBank made a so-called tender offer to Uber investors and shareholders, proposing to pay a reported $33 per share for their stock in the company. It will also buy $1 billion of shares directly from Uber at the older $70 billion valuation.

Uber will use the investment "to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance", a spokesperson, who declined to be named, said.

The change is expected to reduce the influence of former chief executive Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from the top role in June but remains a board member.

Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, told Reuters the stockholders did the smart thing.

Lucky for Uber, the company will still retain its title of "most valuable startup", as second place goes to WeWork, which is now valued at $31 billion. Misra said SoftBank had "tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees".

The blockbuster deal offers a cash infusion to Uber and its shareholders ahead of its actual public offering, which is planned for 2019. However some Uber investors were concerned the price SoftBank was offering was too low, according to Recode.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has taken a keen interest in ride-hailing companies around the world and already has sizeable stakes in China's Didi, Brazil-based 99, India's Ola and Singapore Grab, all of which have competed with Uber. The company still faces numerous legal challenges, including a massive trade secrets lawsuit with Alphabet's self-driving auto unit Waymo and multiple government investigations into potentially illegal business practices.