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SoftBank's Uber deal still faces regulatory review

Phone with Uber and UberEats apps displayed.
Photo by Jaap Arriens/Getty Images

SoftBank yesterday announced that its $9.3 billion investment in Uber has closed, except that's not entirely true.

Bottom line: Yes, checks have been sent and corporate governance changes implemented. But multiple sources tell Axios that the deal actually remains subject to a CFIUS review, and that SoftBank will not exercise its board voting rights until that process is closer to completion.

SoftBank didn't necessarily need to submit a CFIUS application, given that this is a minority position. For example, Tencent didn't file last year when it acquired a 12% stake in Snapchat. But the thinking was that SoftBank expects to remain very active in U.S. deal-making, so it's prudent to keep regulators close.

  • The odds of this flying through CFIUS are extremely high and, if it does get pushback, SoftBank likely could work out some sort of mitigation agreement...
  • BUT: In theory, SoftBank could be out over $8 billion with no legal recourse. For example, Travis Kalanick yesterday deposited over $1 billion into his bank account. There is no clawback provision on it.

It also is worth noting that SoftBank Vision Fund's Rajeev Misra already made a bit of mischief, telling the FT that Uber should consider exiting markets outside of its US/Europe/LatAm core. In other words, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Go deeper: Senate takes new look at CFIUS rules