SoftBank offers to buy Uber shares at discounted $48 billion valuation

Reports of its offer come almost two months after the world's most valuable start up approved a huge investment by Softbank.

While an Uber spokesperson declined to comment on the deal to Bloomberg, a source in the know says the tender offer is expected to begin on Tuesday; now a number of Uber shareholders have agreed to sell shares as part of the process which could span up to 20 business days. SoftBank is also expected to make a separate US$1 billion investment in the company at the US$68.5 billion valuation. Shareholders will need to sell at the $48 billion price. The $48 billion price, confirmed by a person with knowledge of the figure, will however raise concerns about whether the secondary sale will succeed - SoftBank needs to accumulate 14 percent of the company's shares to trigger the so-called "tender offer".

However, the 30 percent discount is steep given Uber's plan to launch an initial public offering in 2019, said Phil Haslett, co-founder and head of investments at secondary marketplace EquityZen.

Since it was valued at $68.5 billion more than a year ago, the company has been hit by scandals, including accusations of sexual harassment.

Uber is also being sued in California and Chicago over a massive data breach in 2016 that affected 57 million customers and drivers. However, "our information at the time was preliminary and incomplete", a spokesman said.

If the deal goes ahead, Softbank would acquire the stock for almost 30% less than Uber's most recent valuation of $69bn in June 2016.

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