Quickly, Uber's new chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi filled the top legal spot in his ride-hail company. His choice - Tony West - was known at Pepsi for his successful ethics and diversity initiatives.
That appointment received positive media coverage. It represented a major victory for Khosrowshahi.
That's because it addressed Uber's culture problems. That rogue culture could be tamed. Also, West is a minority.
The CEO's next big win could simultaneously affect litigation, funding, and governance.
Reuters reports (article carried by BusinessInsider) that sources say venture capital firm Benchmark has agreed to suspend, for the time being, its lawsuit against the company's former head Travis Kalanick. Essentially that was over his continuing power over the board.
That clears the way for SoftBank, a consortium of investors, to invest $1 billion to $1.25 billion in Uber and purchase 17% of existing shares from investors and employees. Those are two separate transactions.
Benchmark will be proposing a price for those shares. Uber will be publishing newspaper ads informing current investors about this planned purchase.
Should the price not attract enough buyers, SoftBank has the option of boosting the price - or walking away. Where it could walk is to Uber rival Lyft and invest in it.
If this deal with Softbank is completed then governance changes will kick in. Based on that if, the board has agreed to:
- Dismantling the super-voting rights which were the power leverage Kalanick and his loyalists continued to have
- Appointing new independent directors
- Increasing the board size to 17.
In addition, another if is that Benchmark will terminate the litigation permanently should the SoftBank deal go through.
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