Oct 24, 2017

SoftBank asks Uber shareholders to keep quiet

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

SoftBank's investment plans for Uber have hit another stumbling block, according to multiple sources. The Japanese giant has asked shareholders like Benchmark to not discuss with peers how much they may sell or at what price. SoftBank views it as an anti-collusion provision, whereas the shareholders view it as a gag order.

Status: This was a bigger problem several days ago than it was today, as many of the shareholders have given verbal assurances that they won't share info. But they won't sign paperwork to that effect — fearing possible liabilities — and it's still a bit unclear if SoftBank will take their word as bond.

Rationale: For SoftBank, this is as much about timing as price, as it fears shareholders will wait until the end of the 30-day period to announce their opposition, thus effectively restarting the process for another 30 days. Or, put another way, exactly what would happen in a tender were Uber publicly-traded.

Dollars and common sense: Shareholders still don't have indication on price. The range on SoftBank's "term sheet" with the Uber board didn't approach the 409a price we reported was the likely tipping point in terms of getting this thing done, but it is allowed to tender at a higher number (albeit not a lower one). And that report came before Lyft raised a major up-round, thus making it harder to SoftBank to push through a deep discount on Uber shares.

Go deeper

Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.