Group pushes to oust Uber in­vestor

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By David Pier­son david.pier­son@la­times.com

The bat­tle for con­trol of Uber took an­other un­ex­pected turn Fri­day when a share­holder group led by some of the com­pany’s top in­vestors re­port­edly asked for the re­moval of a key ven­ture cap­i­tal firm from the ride-hail­ing gi­ant’s board.

The group is seek­ing the re­moval of Bench­mark Cap­i­tal, which filed a law­suit against Uber’s founder and former chief ex­ec­u­tive, Travis Kalan­ick, on Thurs­day. Bench­mark ac­cused Kalan­ick of gross mis­man­age­ment and hopes to quash any at­tempt by Kalan­ick to re­turn as head of the com­pany.

The share­holder group is led by Shervin Pi­she­var, head of Sherpa Cap­i­tal; Ron Burkle, chair­man of Yu­caipa Cos.; and Adam Le­ber, a part­ner at Mav­er­ick, an en­ter­tain­ment man­age­ment firm, ac­cord­ing to Ax­ios, which first re­ported news of the ac­tion.

“We would re­quest that Bench­mark help the com­pany re­al­ize its full po­ten­tial by al­low­ing the nec­es­sary work to be done in the board room rather than the court­room,” the share­hold­ers wrote in a let­ter to the board.

The public spar­ring be­tween high-pow­ered ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists and in­vestors is highly un­usual in Sil­i­con Val­ley. But ten­sion has been sim­mer­ing at Uber af­ter Kalan­ick stepped down in June amid a se­ries of con­tro­ver­sies and mis­steps that have clouded the fu­ture of a start-up thought to be val­ued at $68 bil­lion.

Uber de­clined to com­ment and the share­holder group did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for an in­ter­view.

Bench­mark could not be reached for com­ment, but posted a se­ries of tweets Mon­day say­ing it was still op­ti­mistic about Uber’s fu­ture.

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