Date
25 November 2017
Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick is seeking to change a proposal that would limit his power at the ride-hailing firm. Photo: AFP
Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick is seeking to change a proposal that would limit his power at the ride-hailing firm. Photo: AFP

Uber-SoftBank deal in jeopardy over row with Kalanick: WSJ

A deal that would allow SoftBank Group Corp. to invest about US$10 billion in Uber Technologies Inc. faces the risk of being derailed after co-founder Travis Kalanick sought to change a proposal that would limit his power at the ride-hailing firm, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Uber has recently reached an agreement in principle on a deal with a group of investors led by SoftBank that would revamp Uber’s board, the newspaper said.

But Kalanick, who was ousted from the firm four months ago, wants to remove from the deal a provision that would require a majority vote on any directors he appoints in the future, the Journal said.

He is also seeking a temporary stay on a lawsuit filed by Benchmark, one of Uber’s biggest investors, over his control of two board seats or a formal guarantee the suit will be dropped after SoftBank completes the investment, the sources told the newspaper.

While Kalanick doesn’t have majority voting power, his approval of any deal with SoftBank is essential because some of the corporate governance changes will affect him personally, the sources said.

An agreement could still be worked out, however. Kalanick supports the SoftBank deal and would allow the majority-board-vote provision if Benchmark formalizes its commitment to drop its lawsuit once the deal is concluded, the Journal said.

The new dispute demonstrates Kalanick’s continuing involvement in the company, while threatening to disrupt a tentative stability brought by the new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, after nearly a year of turmoil, the newspaper said.

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