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The bid placed a 30 percent discount on Uber compared to its 2014 valuation of $68.5 billion which made it the world's most valuable startup, with SoftBank also agreeing to inject $1 billion into the company at its old valuation in an attempt to avoid a scenario in which the firm is severely devalued as a result of the move.

The deal nevertheless sharply discounts Uber's value, which past year was estimated at nearly $70 billion.

When the deal is completed, the company will make governance changes, including expanding its board from 11 to 17 members including four independent directors, limiting some early shareholders' voting power and cutting the control wielded by former chief executive Travis Kalanick.

Kalanick stepped down in June following revelations that his company's culture had become toxic and encouraged sexism and inappropriate behavior.

Uber is eyeing an initial public offering in 2019, and is looking to pare its losses under the leadership of Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who took the job in August, and chief operating officer Barney Harford, who starts next month. SoftBank, which is heavily invested in other ride-hailing companies around the globe, could help Uber strike more partnership deals, especially in Asia. On Thursday it said that existing investors had agreed to sell enough shares for SoftBank to go through with the transaction. Uber is losing more than US$1 billion each quarter, and a new cash infusion is critical.

Ride-hailing company Uber is working on a deal to sell its US auto-leasing business Xchange Leasing to startup digital vehicle marketplace Fair, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, told Reuters the stockholders did the smart thing.

The Uber deal marks the latest massive investment by SoftBank's $93 billion Vision Fund.

Lucky for Uber, the company will still retain its title of "most valuable startup", as second place goes to WeWork, which is now valued at $31 billion.

"We look forward to working with the purchasers to close the overall transaction, which we expect to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance", said in Uber spokesperson in a statement.

Uber hasn't had a great year.