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Benchmark and SoftBank are engaging in some public negotiating jiu jitsu over Uber

Benchmark is not committed to a deal. Neither is SoftBank.

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Donald Trump with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
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One of Uber’s largest investors, the venture capital firm Benchmark, is aggressively pushing back on speculation that it is looking to divest from Uber as the company muddles through a cascading scandal.

Benchmark, which is considering selling some of its stake in the $70 billion ride-hailing giant, said in a rare Twitter statement on Monday that it remained “long” on Uber — though it did not directly dispute the notion that it is weighing a partial exit through a secondary sale.

“Despite speculation to the contrary, Benchmark is incredibly optimistic about Uber's future,” Benchmark’s official account said in one message. “We have immense confidence in Uber's 1000s of employees & are excited about what they will accomplish with the right new CEO.”

The carefully worded tweets did not specifically say that Benchmark would hold onto every last one of its shares, and the firm declined to comment beyond the tweets when asked if they were ruling out any sale.

Benchmark also claimed Uber’s value could rise to over $100 billion. That follows a new report in The Information that Benchmark was considering selling its stake to SoftBank in a deal that would value the company at around $45 billion.

The public backing comes at a particularly fraught moment in any negotiations: Earlier on Monday, the CEO of the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank confirmed for the first time that they might invest in Uber, but cautioned that they may end up passing on the deal.

“We are interested in discussing with Uber, we are also interested in discussing with Lyft, we have not decided which way,” Masoyoshi Son, the SoftBank CEO, told reporters, according to Reuters. “Whether we decide to partner and invest into Uber or Lyft, I don't know what will be the end result.”

Talks are ongoing, so the statements together suggest some negotiating jiu jitsu: Benchmark and SoftBank are effectively publicly signaling that they are totally willing to walk away from the deal if need be.


This article originally appeared on Recode.net.