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Uber is now seriously entertaining a bid by another investing group looking to assume greater ownership of the $70 billion company even as it convulses from crisis to crisis.
A constellation of investors, led by General Atlantic and the Dragoneer Investment Group, has approached Uber as part of an attempt to win more of a stake in the ride-hailing giant, according to three people with knowledge of the conversations. General Atlantic already owns shares in the ride-hail giant.
One person portrayed the group’s involvement as close to final, though deal terms still need to unfold “over the next 30 days,” the person said. Another source, however, indicated the talks were merely the “start of diligence.” The talks are described as advanced.
The rise of yet a third player adds a complex new dimension to what was originally thought to be conversations solely between SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, and Uber. General Atlantic’s and Dragoneer’s involvement would not preclude an entry by SoftBank, however — in fact, the two could be in talks together as part of a joint agreement.
An agreement between the investing group and Uber would feature the purchase of existing shares at a lower valuation, though a current shareholder has not yet volunteered to sell their position. The investors would also make a small purchase of Uber stock at the current, higher valuation so that Uber could retain its sky-high valuation, one person with knowledge said.
Benchmark Capital is under pressure from some to decrease their ownership stake in the embattled company, particularly after it revealed an unusual lawsuit last week against Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick.
Even if Benchmark did not sell, one person with knowledge described several smaller Uber investors — eager for liquidity from the still-private company — as interested. The exact price of the secondary transaction is “a bit of a moving target,” but two people said the secondary buy would decrease Uber’s paper valuation.
New York hedge fund, Tiger Investment has also voiced a desire to increase its stake in Uber, as Recode earlier reported. It was not immediately clear if Tiger was part of this new group.
The emergence of the Dragoneer-General Atlantic interest was first reported by The New York Times on Sunday.