Hate him, love him, but booted CEO Travis Kalanick soon to be an Uber billionaire
SAN FRANCISCO — Ousted Uber CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick was always filthy rich on paper. Now he'll soon be swimming in greenbacks in reality.
Kalanick plans to sell 29% of his Uber stock — after long boasting that he had never relinquished one share of the ride-hailing company he helped start in 2009 — to the cha-ching tune of $1.4 billion, according to a Bloomberg report Thursday citing persons familiar with the matter.
The stock sale comes as Japanese investment firm SoftBank and a consortium of investors prepares later this month to buy a reported 15% of Uber at a valuation of $48 billion, or 30% less than a long-cited valuation of $69 billion.
Kalanick owns 10% of Uber, now valued at $4.8 billion, and offered to sell as much as half of that stake, according to Bloomberg.
While the coming financial windfall may sound like a triumph, it cannot obscure the tremendous fall of one of Silicon Valley's most high-flying tech executives.
In early 2017, Uber was hit with accusations of harboring a sexist work environment in a blog post by former engineer Susan Fowler. The unraveling was swift and included not only Kalanick's resignation in June at the urging of investors, but also revelations of a laundry list of legally questionable practices meant to deceive regulators and customers.
Uber also is being sued by Google's self-driving car company Waymo, which alleges that Uber stole its proprietary tech when it bought self-driving truck company Otto.
Although Uber is struggling with lawsuits, federal probes and a hit to its reputation, it remains unclear if consumers are willing to decouple possible disgust with the company's history of bad behavior with the convenience offered by its product.
While rival Lyft has by a variety of accounts gained some ground in the past year, Uber remains the dominant ride-hailing option in the U.S., and has operations in dozens of foreign countries.
In late August, Uber announced that it was appointing former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi to run the company. Since then, Kalanick's once formidable influence has started to fade as new leadership — and soon new investors — take the reins of Uber.
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