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Uber clips Travis Kalanick's wings, paves way for SoftBank investment, IPO

Sumit Chakraberty | Tech In Asia/ 04 Oct 17 | 09:18 AM

Travis Kalanick

Uber’s board of directors has voted for a change in governance structure that will pave the way for an investment from SoftBank. The Japanese giant, which is considering putting in over US$1 billion, is also an investor in Asian ride-hailing companies Didi Chuxing, Grab, and Ola.

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The approved measures will reduce the clout of co-founder and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick, according to NYT sources. But some measures proposed by new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, including one that could have prevented Kalanick’s return as CEO, were dropped before the meeting.

The board also approved a resolution to go public by 2019. Uber was last valued at US$69 billion.

Why it matters:

This may have defused a boardroom battle between Kalanick and early investor Benchmark, one of the main movers in forcing a change at the top. But Kalanick had extra voting rights, because of his special class of Uber stock. He used this to appoint two board members before yesterday’s meeting, without discussing it with Dara Khosrowshahi and the rest of the board.


SoftBank’s investment will make it an investor in Uber as well as its Southeast Asian rival Grab and Indian rival Ola, in which the Japanese giant is investing US$2 billion in a new round.

Uber going public would be one of the biggest tech IPOs and potentially a litmus test for other unicorns which have delayed their listings.

This is an edited excerpt from the Tech In Asia. You can read the article here

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