Japanese multi-national has completed its purchase of a majority share of Uber, and is attempting to push forward some radical changes in direction for the company. Senior Softbank executive Rajeev Mishra has called for the ride-sharing service to focus on its core markets in the US, Europe, Latin America, and Australia; instead of competing for marketshare in the rest of Asia.
Uber shareholders sold roughly $8 billion worth of stock at a heavy discount to a conglomerate of investors – with Softbank taking the lion’s share of the stock. This sale triggered a change in Uber’s board of directors, which has now been expanded to 17 members (Softbank is said to be appointing Mishra to the board).
As far as internal politics goes, this is a win for Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi who struggled against founder Travis Kalanick’s influence over the board. However, it seems to have introduced a new dynamic is how the ride-sharing pioneer is going to operate in the future.
Mishra believes that Uber would be better served by narrowing its efforts and focusing on markets where it has the dominant position. Softbank’s influence in Uber’s future could see the company repeated its act of retreating from Asian markets like China.
Edit: Khosrowshahi for his part, disagrees with the assessment and believes that the company will instead be expanding its reach.
It should be pointed out that Softbank is also investing in Uber’s Asia rivals like Didi-Chuxing, Ola, and Grab. Both of which have gained strong positions in the markets where Uber is being told to exit. It’s unclear if the Japanese company simply wants to avoid having its various interests compete against one another.