As a potential investor, SoftBank was well-aware of the massive data breach that hit Uber back in 2016, even before the public disclosure.
Although the Uber hack occurred last year, it has just now come to light and sparked great controversy worldwide. Uber has been having a tough time lately after a series of scandals took a heavy toll on the company, but a sizeable investment from SoftBank might help it overcome the challenges.
SoftBank Knew About The Uber Hack
Before pouring billions of dollars in Uber, however, SoftBank has conducted its due diligence investigation to find potential risks and skeletons that might threaten the deal. As such, before going public, Uber told SoftBank about its 2016 data breach. At the time, Uber was still looking into the matter, so it reportedly didn't have much to share.
"We informed SoftBank that we were investigating a data breach, consistent with our duty to disclose to a potential investor, even though our information at the time was preliminary and incomplete," Uber told Bloomberg in an emailed statement. "We also made clear that our forensic investigation was ongoing."
Uber Data Breach Disclosure
Uber added that once it concluded its internal investigation and had a clearer picture of what happened, it publicly disclosed the data breach to both customers and regulators. The company also highlights that when it told SoftBank about the matter, it made clear that its internal inquiry was still ongoing.
It remains unclear for now just when SoftBank learned about the Uber hack or what was its reaction to the news. Uber, for its part, tried to handle things in its own way, and it paid off hackers to stay quiet about the data breach.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reportedly found out about the data breach more than two months before the public disclosure. This means that SoftBank learned about it sometime between then and the public disclosure on Tuesday, Nov. 21, but a more specific time frame is not available at this point.
At the same time, it's also unclear whether SoftBank is still willing to strike a deal with the ride-hailing company. SoftBank was considering an investment of $10 billion for a stake of at least 14 percent in Uber, but the data breach disclosure might have a negative impact on the deal.
The data breach news follows a series of other Uber woes, including a legal dispute with Google's Waymo over stolen trade secrets and an exodus of top talent. Uber is currently running a "180 Days of Change" campaign to restore its reputation and improve its public image, but the data breach disclosure deals another blow.