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Uber employees will get a second chance to make some money by selling their shares

It’s a chance for Uber to clean up its base of shareholders ahead of a 2019 IPO.

A selfie of Uber employees featuring former CEO Travis Kalanick, current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and board member Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington / Twitter

Four months after some Uber employees were unable to sell as many shares in the company as they’d initially hoped, the ride-hailing company is offering a new deal that allows shareholders to turn some of their stock into money once again.

During still-uncertain times at Uber, the company is launching another “tender offer” that will allow employees and investors to sell around $500 million of their holdings to a group of large financial players, including the hedge fund Coatue Management, which will become a new Uber investor. The deal is not as important as a monstrous tender offer last winter with SoftBank — which is poised to control 15 percent of the company — but speaks to the efforts from Uber to order its base of investors ahead of an initial public offering next year.

The buyers in addition to Coatue, which is also an investor in Lyft, are Altimeter Capital and TPG, which has a seat on Uber’s board, according to an Uber spokesperson. Between $400 million and $600 million of stock will be sold at a $62 billion valuation — a share price of $40 that is higher than a few months ago.

Unlike the SoftBank deal, which allowed large institutional investors to pocket hundreds of millions of dollars, this deal is centered on cashing out employees. Current employees will receive the chance first to sell their shares; investors will only be able to part with their stock if space remains in the deal.

This deal also appeals to employees with a smaller amount of stock; employees only need 1,000 shares to participate, rather than the 10,000 required in the deal last winter. They can sell up to one-quarter of their own shares or up to $25 million worth, whichever is less.

The deal should appease some Uber loyalists who may feel they were unable to use their startup stock to buy a new house or pay off existing loans. Uber shareholders were only able to sell about 58 percent of what they initially hoped to sell in the initial tender offer because too many employees and investors sought to part with their shares.

And what’s in it for Uber? The chance to bring in a heavyweight like Coatue, clean up its investor base and keep its employees happy in a competitive job market.

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