Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Uber curbs power of ex-CEO, accepts Softbank


Uber Technologies Inc is curbing the power of former CEO Travis Kalanick and taking on Japan’s Softbank Group Inc as a major new investor as the ride-hailing service tries to recover from internal strife and a myriad of legal headaches.

The changes adopted unanimously on Tuesday by Uber’s 11-member board strip Kalanick and other early investors of the extra voting power they were originally granted to control the privately held company’s direction, according to two people briefed on the board vote.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the board’s decisions are considered confidential.

Kalanick, who stepped down as CEO in June last year under pressure from irate investors, was among the directors who approved putting everyone on equal footing.

He agreed to the provision weakening his power partly to block another proposal that would have prevented him from ever returning as Uber’s CEO, according to one of the people.

For now, the job of Kalanick’s successor — Dara Khosrowshahi — appears safe.

In another vote, the board agreed to pursue an initial public offering of Uber’s stock by the end of 2019.

Before an IPO, two-thirds of the board would have to approve a switch in CEOs, a provision designed to prevent Khosrowshahi’s ouster, according to one of the people.

The truce cleared the way for Softbank to invest about US$10 billion in Uber and get two seats on an expanded board that will consist of 17 directors. Softbank’s investment is based on Uber’s current valuation of about US$69 billion.

If Uber’s value declines amid all the trouble that has been swirling around the San Francisco company during the past year, Softbank could end up investing slightly less than US$10 billion. Either way, Softbank is supposed to wind up with a 14 to 17 percent stake.

Softbank will be buying the share from current investors who want to cash out of Uber. The firm is working with the Dragoneer Investment Group LLC on the Uber deal, according to one of the people briefed on the transaction.

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