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Rumors Fly Over Alleged $500 Million Softbank-Flexport Deal, As Companies Stay Mum

Rumors Fly Over Alleged $500 Million Softbank-Flexport Deal, As Companies Stay Mum

San Francisco-based logistics provider Flexport is rumored to be in talks to raise about $500 million in a deal lead by SoftBank Group Corp., according to an article published on Axios Wednesday.

Neither company would confirm the story.

"We are declining to comment on funding speculations," Flexport Vice President of Global Communications Eva Rijser told FreightWaves at 5:20 p.m. EST Wednesday.

SoftBank did not immediately respond to FreightWaves' requests for comment.

Axios, an American news and information website, reported that it learned of the pending deal from "multiple sources," the identities of which it did not release.

"One source puts the pre-money price talk at around $3 billion (another dissents), which could mean the final investment is smaller if either side becomes concerned about CFIUS [Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] approvals (which I'd think they would)," the news site reported.

Flexport has gone through five funding rounds to date and raised a total of $304 million. The company closed a $100 million corporate round in April 2018, according to Crunchbase. That round included seven investors and was led by S.F. Express DST Global led Flexport's earlier Series C funding round.

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Flexport aims to modernize global trade through a combination of software and human expertise. It provides its clients with real-time shipment tracking, analytics and a proactive issue management solution that helps businesses to transport their cargo around the world efficiently.

In October, FreightWaves reported on Flexport's plan to enter the electronic logging device (ELD) market as it spins off some of its technological prowess into a new company called Transmission.

"Transmission was created to build products for trucking companies to be more efficient and transparent," Leo Ospina, Transmission's head of marketing and business development, told FreightWaves. "The idea is a continuation of Flexport's ongoing mission. It makes sense we build off this for the trucking industry."

Flexport is Transmission's sole owner, but Transmission is a separate legal entity, in an arrangement designed to calm concerns that data from motor carriers would be shared with Flexport.

The news of Flexport's rumored new deal was couched inside an Axios piece about the probability that SoftBank or Saudi Arabia will face significant U.S. investment losses related to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The story was also reported by Reuters, which cited the Axios story.

The news comes on the heels of an announcement that SoftBank led a $940 million investment in autonomous delivery startup Nuro.

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