Dan Primack
Featured

More than 1,000 Uber employees ask for Travis Kalanick to return

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

More than one thousand current Uber employees have signed a letter to the company's board of directors, asking for the return of deposed CEO Travis Kalanick "in an operational role." One of its venture capital investors also is chiming in, with a similar message.

The letter is the result of a petition that has been circulating since yesterday, through which employees could add their name and comments on the situation. Rather than technically "signing," they logged into a Google Doc by using their Uber identification credentials. So far, the signatories represent nearly 10% of the company's estimated employee base (which does not include drivers).

Below is the full text of the letter to the board, which was provided to Axios by a source under the condition that we not include the names of signatories.

Board of Directors --

I'm writing to you today ahead of your scheduled meeting to share the thoughts of over 1,100 full-time Uber employees (and counting) who vehemently disagree with Travis' resignation as CEO and the associated pressure placed on him to do so by investors and board members alike.

In less than 12 hours, these employees have expressed their belief that Travis should return to Uber in an operational role. This magnitude of a response was unexpected and should not be ignored. What started as simple note to my closest co-workers turned into a petition spanning hundreds of offices and teams, and has yet to be seen by a majority of employees.

As the folks who've actually worked alongside Travis for years to help create Uber from nothing, we are extremely disappointed by the short-sightedness and pure self-interest demonstrated by those who are supposed to protect the long-term interests of our company.

Yes, Travis is flawed, as we all are. But his passion, vision, and dedication to Uber are simply unmatched. We would not be here today without him, and believe he can evolve into the leader we need. He is critical to our future success.

We await your response and look forward to Travis' return in an operational role.

There also have been several public Facebook posts in support of Kalanick, including from current Uber employees like Margaret-Ann Seger and former ones like Frederique Dame.

Finally, Axios has received a statement from Mood Rowghani, a partner with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is an Uber investor. He appears to agree with the idea of Kalanick retaining an operational role at the company, in addition to just a board seat. It reads:

"It would be wrong to conclude from Uber that founder involvement in the companies they create is a mistake. While founders should be held accountable to strong, independent boards and need the support of experienced leadership teams, founder DNA is a precious asset and cannot be under-estimated. It is a founder's passion, strategic clairvoyance, ability to inspire and motivate employees and relentless pursuit of the mission that enables start-ups to achieve seismic changes against the odds. Founders may not always play the role of CEO but several great companies -- most notably Apple and Twitter -- that severed all ties to their founders eventually came to regret it."

Featured

George Clooney sells tequila company for $1 billion

AP Photo/Pete Muller

London-based spirits maker Diageo has agreed to acquire U.S. tequila maker Casamigos for upwards of $1 billion, including a $700 million upfront payment and upwards of $300 million in milestone payments.

Why it matters: This is a reflection of rising global demand for tequila and, in particular, high-end brands. In fact, sales for the "super-premium" category represented by Casamigos have climbed more than 700% since 2002. Plus: Casamigos was co-founded by George Clooney, and we all were hoping that guy could finally get a win.

Bottom line: "Diageo already owns the Don Julio brand. But the company's executives argued that they could take Casamigos to even greater heights by selling it beyond American shores." — Michael de la Merced

Featured

Primack's last word on the Kalanick exit (for now)

AP Photo/Eric Gay, file

The Uber saga continued yesterday, with the resignation of Benchmark partner Bill Gurley from the company's board of directors. He'll be replaced by Matt Cohler who, alongside fellow Benchmarker Peter Fenton, actually negotiated Travis Kalanick's resignation on Tuesday night — namely because Gurley and Kalanick are no longer on speaking terms. In fact, a source says that Kalanick requested Gurley step down so that the board can be more functional going forward (remember, Travis remains a director). Here are other key points:

  • Money: Kalanick obviously isn't hurting, with sources saying that he's received multi-million dollar performance bonuses in each of the past few years. But remember that he's never sold a single share of Uber stock, so he still has a strong financial incentive to help maintain value (versus trying to burn down the house). Moreover, almost everyone I've spoken with believes that his continued board presence is vital to the company's future success.
  • Partners: Multiple sources say that the relationship between Kalanick and Arianna Huffington became problematically close, with Kalanick not really speaking to any other directors between the time he took a leave of absence and Tuesday's investor revolt. In short, Kalanick isolated himself with Huffington as buffer — and other directors were ticked off by things like this NY Times puff piece on Huffington (which they viewed as being primarily about personal brand promotion).
  • Speaking of which: There was a ridiculous NY Post story yesterday suggesting that Huffington was leading the CEO search, via her advocacy for Sheryl Sandberg. To be sure, most everyone at Uber would kill for Sandberg to take the role, but Huffington isn't in any particular charge of recruiting (a role really led by Gurley, who was expected to remain involved). Just to prove the point, that same story later suggests Huffington nemesis Tim Armstrong as a candidate. No way she's recruiting him (nor do I think he's a serious candidate, given the upcoming Yahoo integration that he spearheaded at AOL).
  • Timeline: It is important to note that Kalanick's behavior and choices in the time between taking leave and Tuesday were determinative for many of the revolting investors, although specifics remain hard to come by. But know this: Had Kalanick just taken a couple of weeks at the beach with his phone turned off, he's probably still CEO.
  • Other moves: TPG's David Trujillo will take that firm's board seat, following the resignation of David Bonderman over sexist statements made at last week's all-hands. Worth noting that TPG didn't sign the investor letter on Tuesday, although it was considered to be generally supportive of the effort (seems the letter's specific language was at issue).
  • CEO candidates? Here are some options.
  • Counterpoint: Conventional wisdom is that Kalanick's resignation is a win for Silicon Valley women, but not everyone agrees. Check out this Facebook post from Uber product manager Margaret-Ann Seger: "I'm angry, sad, flustered, confused, but mostly just heartbroken."
  • Reconsidering: Prior to Kalanick's resignation, I wrote a piece questioning whether Uber's board should have hired Eric Holder in the first place. Not whether it needed to investigate sexual harassment claims or that it needed cultural changes -- but rather if the Holder investigation structure was the best way to proceed. Read it here.
Featured

Pro Rata


Surge Stuff


Rebecca Zisser, Gerald Rich / Axios

The Uber saga continued yesterday, with the resignation of Benchmark partner Bill Gurley from the company's board of directors. He'll be replaced by Matt Cohler who, alongside fellow Benchmarker Peter Fenton, actually negotiated Travis Kalanick's resignation on Tuesday night — namely because Gurley and Kalanick are no longer on speaking terms. In fact, a source says that Kalanick requested Gurley step down so that the board can be more functional going forward (remember, Travis remains a director).

I know many of you are sick of Uber by now, so I promise not to address it in tomorrow's Pro Rata. But until then...

  • Money: Kalanick obviously isn't hurting, with sources saying that he's received multi-million dollar performance bonuses in each of the past few years. But remember that he's never sold a single share of Uber stock, so he still has a strong financial incentive to help maintain value (versus trying to burn down the house). Moreover, almost everyone I've spoken with believes that his continued board presence is vital to the company's future success.
  • Partners: Multiple sources say that the relationship between Kalanick and Arianna Huffington became problematically close, with Kalanick not really speaking to any other directors between the time he took a leave of absence and Tuesday's investor revolt. In short, Kalanick isolated himself with Huffington as buffer — and other directors were ticked off by tangential things like this NY Times puff piece on Huffington (which they viewed as being primarily about personal brand promotion).
  • Speaking of which: There was a ridiculous NY Post story yesterday suggesting that Huffington was leading the CEO search, via her advocacy for Sheryl Sandberg. To be sure, most everyone at Uber would kill for Sandberg to take the role, but Huffington isn't in any particular charge of recruiting (a role really led by Gurley, who was expected to remain involved). Just to prove the point, that same story later suggests Huffington nemesis Tim Armstrong as a candidate. No way she's recruiting him (nor do I think he's a serious candidate, given the upcoming Yahoo integration that he spearheaded at AOL).
  • Timeline: It is important to note that Kalanick's behavior and choices in the time between taking leave and Tuesday were determinative for many of the revolting investors, although specifics remain hard to come by. But know this: Had Kalanick just taken a couple of weeks at the beach with his phone turned off, he's probably still CEO.
  • Other moves: TPG's David Trujillo will take that firm's board seat, following the resignation of David Bonderman over sexist statements made at last week's all-hands. Worth noting that TPG didn't sign the investor letter on Tuesday, although it was considered to be generally supportive of the effort (seems the letter's specific language was at issue).
  • CEO candidates? Here are some options.
  • Counterpoint: Conventional wisdom is that Kalanick's resignation is a win for Silicon Valley women, but not everyone agrees. Check out this Facebook post from Uber product manager Margaret-Ann Seger: "I'm angry, sad, flustered, confused, but mostly just heartbroken."
  • Reconsidering: Prior to Kalanick's resignation, I wrote a piece questioning whether Uber's board should have hired Eric Holder in the first place. Not whether it needed to investigate sexual harassment claims or that it needed cultural changes -- but rather if the Holder investigation structure was the best way to proceed. Read it here.

Trumpland

The White House today will host a group of tech execs and VCs for sessions on emerging technologies, including drones and the Internet of Things. There also will be a session on increasing investment activities in U.S. regions outside of traditional VC hotbeds like Silicon Valley and the Northeast. David McCabe has a curtain-raiser, including a list of expected attendees.

  • On his way: One of those going is Steve Case, who tells me that he hopes to convince Trump and his team to "focus a little less on revitalizing manufacturing and bring back jobs of the past, and more on encouraging entrepreneurship and creating jobs of the future." Case believes the White House can support such efforts via tax reform, including by supporting the Investing in Opportunity Act (bipartisan co-sponsored by Sens. Booker and Cook). As for the risk of today's meeting being more about a photo opp for Trump than a consequential exchange of ideas: "My experience having done this for three decades across Administrations is that it's better to engage, to be in the room."
  • But: Case also planned to advocate for the International Entrepreneur Rule to remain in place, but word came last night that Trump plans to effectively kill it (something we previously reported would happen, although he's using a different mechanism). Click that second link to learn the difference between the IER and Startup Visa (which remains in congressional limbo), or just know this: Trump wants amazing, high-paying jobs for Americans. But not if the price is accepting extra immigrants.

The BFD

Source: Giphy

Diageo (LSE: DGE) has agreed to acquire Manhasset, N.Y.-based tequila maker Casamigos for upwards of $1 billion, including a $700 million upfront payment and upwards of $300 million in milestone payments.

  • Why it's the BFD: This is a reflection of rising global demand for tequila and, in particular, high-end brands. In fact, sales for the "super-premium" category represented by Casamigos have climbed more than 700% since 2002. Plus: Casamigos was co-founded by George Clooney, and I know we all were really hoping that guy could finally get a win.
  • Bottom line: "Diageo already owns the Don Julio brand. But the company's executives argued that they could take Casamigos to even greater heights by selling it beyond American shores." — Michael de la Merced

Venture Capital Deals

Farfetch, a London-based online luxury fashion marketplace, has raised $397 million in new funding from JD.com (Nasdaq: JD). Fartech previously raised around $360 million in VC funding from firms like Index Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2st8yoE

🚑 Repare Therapeutics, a developer of precision oncology drugs with offices in Montreal and Cambridge, Mass., has raised $68 million in Series A funding. Versant Ventures and MPM Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Fonds de solidarité FTQ and BDC Capital. http://bit.ly/2rFRkBs

Blockchain, a London-based bitcoin wallet company, has raised $40 million in Series B funding. Lakestar led the round, and was joined by GV, Nokota Management, Digital Currency Group and return backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mosaic Venture Partners, Prudence Holdings, and Richard Branson. http://read.bi/2rYC0zt

Samsara, a San Francisco-based provider of connected sensors for fleet management, has raised $40 million in Series C funding at a post-money valuation north of $530 million. General Catalyst led the round, and was joined by return baker Andreessen Horowitz. http://tcrn.ch/2rBTD8M

Yello, a Chicago-based provider of recruiting software, has raised $31 million in Series C funding. JMI Equity led the round, and was joined by return backer First Analysis. http://bit.ly/2twX81o

Dafengshou, a Chinese e-commerce site for agricultural products, has raised $29 million in Series B funding. Orchid Asia Group and China Growth Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Matrix Partners China. http://bit.ly/2twYQQI

Sequent, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of tokenization services, has raised $16 million in Series C funding. Japan's TIS led the round, and was joined by return backers Opus Capital Partners, SBT Ventures and Jado Investments. www.sequent.com

Celtra, a Boston-based creative management platform for digital advertising, has raised $15 million in VC funding co-led by Unilever Ventures and WPP. http://bit.ly/2twFIC4

Pearl Capital Business Funding, a New York-based provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, has secured $15 million in financing from Atlanta-based Chatham Capital. http://bit.ly/2sTVGZ7

Rinse, a San Francisco-based dry cleaning and laundry service, has raised $14 million in Series B funding. Partech Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Javelin Ventures, Arena Ventures, Accelerator Ventures and Structure Capital. http://tcrn.ch/2tNRK9C

Pillow, an automated platform for managing short-term apartment rentals, has raised $13.5 million in Series A funding. Mayfield led the round, and was joined by Sterling Equity, Peak Capital Partners, Expansion VC and individuals like Chris Anderson (TED Talks) and Gary Vaynerchuck. http://tcrn.ch/2ttIfNA

Nuvolo, a Jersey City, N.J.-based cloud-based enterprise asset management company, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. GE Ventures led the round, and was joined by seed backers NEA and ServiceNow Ventures. www.nuvolo.com

Deliver (f.k.a. iCanDeliver), a Russia-based freight transport ordering platform, has raised $8 million in seed funding from Inventure Partners, A&NN Group and Amereus Group. http://tcrn.ch/2sXcO0A

ComparaGuru, a Mexican online financial management platform for insurance and banking products, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. QED Investors led the round, and was joined by Peter Thiel, Struck Ventures and return backers Nova Founders Capital and Seaya Ventures. http://bit.ly/2tRwQ9O

Hubdoc, a Toronto-based startup that automates financial document collection and processing, has raised nearly C$5 million in seed funding. BDC IT Venture Fund and Round13 Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Hyde Park Venture Partners. http://bit.ly/2rZ5Weu

Aproplan, a Brussels-based provider of construction site management software, has raised €5 million in Series A funding. Fortino Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers like Inventures and Matexi. http://tcrn.ch/2sWRVD1

Fuzic, a Fishers, Ind.-based music marketing startup, has raised $3 million in seed funding from High Alpha, Allos Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners. http://bit.ly/2sXeZSh

TrueLayer, a London-based provider of access to bank APIs, has raised $3 million in Series A funding. Anthemis Group led the round, and was joined by return backer Connect Ventures. http://bit.ly/2sEMeXr

Growbots, a San Francisco-based provider of outbound sales automation solutions, has raised $2.5 million in new VC funding from backers like Buran VC and Lighter Capital. http://tcrn.ch/2tOifvF

🚑 Iconovo, a Swedish developer of drug inhalers, has raised €2.3 million in new VC funding from undisclosed investors. http://bit.ly/2rUcnVn

Cake, a social conversation platform organized around topics, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding, per an SEC filing. www.cake.co

Petasense, a San Jose, Calif.-based industrial IoT startup focused on machine vibrations, has raised $1.8 million in seed funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by Felicis Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2sSWzSG

Private Equity Deals

🚑 Consolidated Services Group, a Lansdale, Penn.-based provider of medical claims management services, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Excellere Partners. www.csg-inc.net

Lynx Equity has acquired G&W Commercial Interiors, a Seattle-based provider of commercial flooring and related services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gwcfloor.com

Sycamore Partners is nearing an agreement to acquire office supplies retailer Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) for more than $6 billion, according to Reuters. Staples previously rejected a bid from Cerberus Capital Management. http://reut.rs/2rXGE0r

True Wind Capital has agreed to acquire ARI Network Services (Nasdaq: ARIS), a Milwaukee-based provider of SaaS sales tools for equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers. The deal is valued at around $140 million in cash, or $7.10 per share. http://bit.ly/2rUTMZc

Public Offerings

Altice USA, the U.S. unit of Amsterdam-listed broadband giant Altice NV, raised $1.9 billion in its IPO. The company pried 63.9 million shares at $30 per share (within $27-$31 range), for an initial market cap of around $22 billion It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol ATUS, while J.P. Morgan was listed as left-lead underwriter. It reports a $656 million net loss on more than $9 billion in pro forma revenue for 2016. http://cnb.cx/2sEHukC

Vencore, a Chantilly, Va.-based provider of IT and consulting services to U.S. government customers, has filed for a $250 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol VNCR, with Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $1 million of net income on around $1.17 billion in revenue for 2016, and is owned by Veritas Capital. http://on.mktw.net/2sS1frl

Liquidity Events

Kinderhook Industries has sold Dispensing Dynamics, a City of Industry, Calif.-based maker of plastic injection molded paper towel and soap dispensers, to Hunter Industries. No financial terms were disclosed. www.dispensingdynamics.com

More M&A

Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to acquire around a 20% stake in Home Capital Group (TSX: HCG), a Canadian alternative mortgage lender, via its Columbia Insurance Co. subsidiary for around C$153 million. Earlier reports were that both Brookfield Asset Management and Onex Corp. had made preliminary takeover offers for Home Capital. http://bit.ly/2rV5EdD

Imagination Technologies (LSE: IMG), a British maker of graphics chips, is seeking a buyer. The move comes after Apple announced it would stop purchasing product from Imagination Technologies, causing the latter's stock to crater 70%. Its current market cap is south of £350 million. http://reut.rs/2tx0aTw

Mytaxi, a European ride-hail company owned by Daimler, has agreed to acquire Romanian rival Clever Taxi for an undisclosed amount. http://nyti.ms/2sEuVGg

Standard Life (LSE: SL) received British antitrust approval for its proposed £11 billion purchase of Aberdeen Asset Management (LSE: ADN). http://bbc.in/2twBoml

Fundraising

CITIC Capital Partners has closed a new China-focused private equity fund with $1.57 billion in capital commitments. The firm continues to raise a parallel, RMB-denominated fund targeting RMB3 billion (US$439m). http://bit.ly/2sEDbGf

Highland Capital Partners is raising up to $300 million for its tenth VC fund, per an SEC filing. www.hcp.com

It's Personnel

Gustaf Alstromer, a former Airbnb executive, has joined Y Combinator as a partner. http://tcrn.ch/2tu7RKm

Ken Elefant has stepped down as a managing director with Intel Capital to join Utah-based private equity firm Sorenson Capital as head of a new early-stage VC unit based in Palo Alto. https://bloom.bg/2tOENfR

• Sara Zulkosky has joined Greenspring Associates as a venture partner. She previously was a principal with CNF Investments. www.greenspringassociates.com

Final Numbers

Source: Cambridge Associates

Featured

Who might be the next Uber CEO

Following months of controversies, Uber's search for a COO has now grown to a hunt for a new CEO following Travis Kalanick's resignation on Tuesday. Here are some of the names that have been floated as possible candidates, and the list will surely shift as the search continues:


Featured

Uber's board shakeup continues, with Bill Gurley to leave

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Venture capitalist Bill Gurley, whose firm Benchmark was one of Uber's earliest investors, has stepped off the ride-hailing company's board and will be replaced by fellow Benchmark partner Matt Cohler, who helped broker Benchmark's original investment in Uber. Bloomberg first reported the move, which Axios has confirmed.

Why: Gurley for years was a vocal supporter of Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick, but yesterday was part of the group of investors who requested that Kalanick resign from his job as the company's chief (which he did, although he will remain on the board of directors). By that point, their relationship had become so strained that Cohler and Benchmark's Peter Fenton handled most of yesterday's discussions with Kalanick (Fenton also was under consideration to be the replacement).

Gurley's resignation is at Kalanick's request, in an effort to make sure the board functions more smoothly going forward, according to a source. Gurley also has been actively involved in the new CEO search and an ongoing COO search, and he is expected to maintain some level of involvement in those processes.

Board shuffle: This will be the second change to Uber's board over the past week. Last Tuesday, TPG Capital chairman and co-founding partner David Bonderman resigned after making a sexist remark to a fellow board member during a company meeting, and will be replaced by TPG's David Trujillo.

Featured

TPG Capital's David Trujillo to join Uber's board

Jeff Chiu / AP

TPG Capital and Uber have finally agreed on a new board member for the ride-hailing company: partner David Trujillo, as Bloomberg and first reported and Axios has also confirmed from a source.

Last Tuesday, TPG Capital chairman and founding partner David Bonderman resigned from Uber's board after he made a sexist remark toward fellow board member Arianna Huffington during a company meeting. As Axios pointed out then, Trujillo was the most obvious replacement as he brokered TPG's original investment in Uber.

Axios has also learned that TPG Capital was aware of the letter a group of investors planned to send to CEO Travis Kalanick asking for his resignation. Though the firm declined to participate in order to maintain its independence, it did feel the company's leadership needed a change, and Kalanick's eventual resignation accelerated TPG Capital's move to fill its board seat.

The story has been updated to reflect that Bloomberg first reported the news.

Featured

Uber after Travis

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

As you've probably heard by now, Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber after a group of investors yesterday sent a letter asking for his resignation.

  • Uber's troubled COO search now becomes its gold-plated CEO search: Some possible candidates that come immediately to mind include Jeff Immelt, Meg Whitman, Mark Fields, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Bain.
  • Why it matters: Venture capitalists once had a reputation for canning CEOs, but that was left behind in this "founder friendly" era. Each of the participating firms took a big reputation risk here when it comes to future deal-flow, despite how the chattering class seems to think removing Kalanick was a no-brainer.
  • I'm still a bit unclear on how this went down: Remember that Kalanick technically controlled Uber's board of directors, so long as Garrett Camp (Uber's founder and chairman) and Ryan Graves (Uber's first employee and SVP of global ops) remained in his corner. (More below the fold)

What happened: Five Uber investors — Benchmark, First Round Capital, Fidelity Investments, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures — yesterday sent a letter to Kalanick, asking for his resignation. Most other Uber investors were unaware of the proceedings until they were publicly reported (or told by a reporter).

More on how it went down: Remember that Kalanick technically controlled Uber's board of directors, so long as Garrett Camp (Uber's founder and chairman) and Ryan Graves (Uber's first employee and SVP of global ops) remained in his corner. Theoretically the board could vote Kalanick out as CEO, but then his ruling troika could effectively dissolve the board. It remains unclear if one of his longtime allies flipped yesterday. One source said yesterday was like Game of Thrones, which may be bad news for Daenerys (assuming that Camp and Graves are her dragons in this analogy). It's also possible that Kalanick realized how difficult recruiting and fundraising would be if a large investor group made a public vote on non-confidence in him.

Legacy: I was asked on BBC Radio earlier this morning about "how we will remember Travis Kalanick," as if he had died. The guy remains on Uber's board and, until we learn differently, still has a major portion of voting stock. In other words, he's going to have a say in the company's future (which he'll want, given that, as of last check, he's never cashed in any shares).

But if we must: Kalanick changed global transportation for the better in a remarkably short period of time, but that same laser-focused ambition too often ignored and marginalized those who had helped realize his goals. As someone close to Uber recently said to me: "It's wrong to say that that Uber doesn't care about women. It doesn't really care about people, and women are people. It's incidental."

Featured

Pro Rata


Top of the Morning

Lazaro Gamio/ Axios

As you've probably heard by now, Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of Uber. The move was confirmed to the NY Times at around 1:20am ET, which also was 30 minutes after Axios first reported that a group of Uber investors were pushing to have him removed.

  • What happened: Five Uber investors — Benchmark, First Round Capital, Fidelity Investments, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures — yesterday sent a letter to Kalanick, asking for his resignation. Most other Uber investors were unaware of the proceedings until they were publicly reported (or told by a reporter).
  • Why it matters: Venture capitalists once had a reputation for canning CEOs, but that was left behind in this "founder friendly" era. Each of the participating firms took a big reputation risk here when it comes to future deal-flow, despite how the chattering class seems to think removing Kalanick was a no-brainer.
  • How it went down: Honestly, I'm still a bit unclear on this. Remember that Kalanick technically controlled Uber's board of directors, so long as Garrett Camp (Uber's founder and chairman) and Ryan Graves (Uber's first employee and SVP of global ops) remained in his corner. Theoretically the board could vote Kalanick out as CEO, but then his ruling troika could effectively dissolve the board. It remains unclear if one of his longtime allies flipped yesterday. One source said yesterday was like Game of Thrones, which may be bad news for Daenerys (assuming that Camp and Graves are her dragons in this analogy). It's also possible that Kalanick realized how difficult recruiting and fundraising would be if a large investor group made a public vote on non-confidence in him.
  • Next: Uber's troubled COO search now becomes its gold-plated CEO search, with the company expected to look both inside and outside of Silicon Valley. Don't be surprised to see some Fortune 500 names bandied about. Some possible candidates that come immediately to mind include Jeff Immelt, Meg Whitman, Mark Fields, Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Bain.
  • Legacy: I was asked on BBC Radio earlier this morning about "how we will remember Travis Kalanick," as if he had died. The guy remains on Uber's board and, until we learn differently, still has a major portion of voting stock. In other words, he's going to have a say in the company's future (which he'll want, given that, as of last check, he's never cashed in any shares).
  • But if we must: Kalanick changed global transportation for the better in a remarkably short period of time, but that same laser-focused ambition too often ignored and marginalized those who had helped realize his goals. As someone close to Uber recently said to me: "It's wrong to say that that Uber doesn't care about women. It doesn't really care about people, and women are people. It's incidental."

Coming attractions: Wellington Management is raising $1.5 billion for its second fund focused on investments in private companies, per a job listing. The Boston-based mutual fund manager's debut private company fund, branded as Hadley Harbor, closed on around $1 billion in 2014. And if Wellington is mentioning Hadley Harbor II in this sort of listing, chances are that most commitments are wrapped up.

Chip dip: Toshiba Corp. has named a consortium that includes Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ) and private equity firm Bain Capital as the preferred bidder for its semiconductor business, with an offer of around $18 billion.

What's key to know here is that INCJ/Bain isn't the preferred bidder in terms of price or strategic synergies — a rival offer from Broadcom/Silver Lake seems to be superior on both fronts — but rather is preferred because INCJ is linked to the Japanese government. It's an interesting turn of the decade for Bain Capital, which in 2008 was effectively blocked by U.S. government regulators from buying networking company 3Com, because its partner on the deal was Huawei Technologies, which was believed to have ties to China's government.

The BFD

Source: Giphy

BMC Software, a portfolio company of Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital, is in early talks to acquire CA Inc. (Nasdaq: CA), a New York-based business software company with a current market cap north of $13 billion, according to Bloomberg.

  • Why it's the BFD: If it were to happen, this would be the largest leveraged buyout of a tech company since PE-backed Dell bought EMC a couple of years back. It also would be significantly more expensive than Bain and Golden Gate's original takeover of BMC back in 2013, which was valued at around $6.9 billion.
  • Bottom line: "CA, formerly known as Computer Associates, has its roots in providing mainframe computers used by large institutions like banks. It has been trying to shift its business to the cloud, and announced in March that it was acquiring application security firm Veracode for $614 million." — Liana Baker, Reuters

Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Rubius Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of "technology to grow, genetically engineer and mature long-circulating red cell therapeutics," has raised $120 million in new VC funding. The only disclosed investor is founding backer Flagship Pioneering. http://bit.ly/2tss2Il

• Cybereason, a Cambridge, Mass.-based endpoint cybersecurity company, has raised $100 million in new funding from existing investor SoftBank. Other prior backers include CRV, Spark Capital and Lockheed Martin. http://on.ft.com/2rQ05NL

Syntimmune, a New York-based FcRn biology startup, has raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Apple Tree Partners. http://bit.ly/2rCi5Xw

• Scalable Capital, a German robo-advisor, has raised €30 million in new VC funding. BlackRock led the round, and was joined by return backers Holtzbrinck Ventures and Tengelmann Ventures. http://reut.rs/2sAbEpd

Textio, a Seattle-based developer of an augmented writing platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Bloomberg Beta, Cowboy Ventures, Emergence Capital and Upside Partnership. www.textio.com

• M. Gemi, a Boston-based online seller of handcrafted Italian shoes, has raised $16 million in new VC funding. Burda Principal Investments led the round, and was joined by return backers Accel, General Catalyst and Forerunner Ventures. http://bit.ly/2tpzt2W

• Keypr, a Los Angeles-based guest experience and management platform for hotels, casinos and residences, has raised $12.8 million in Series A1 funding. Karlani Capital led the round and was joined by individual angels. http://bit.ly/2sw00M7

• Unbxd, a Mountain View, Calif.-based product discovery platform for e-commerce, has raised $12.5 million in Series C funding. Eight Roads Ventures led the round, and was joined by Eight Roads Ventures, IDG Ventures, Inventus Capital Partners and Nirvana Ventures. www.unxbid.com

• EaseCentral, a San Francisco-based SaaS platform for HR and benefits, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Propel Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Freestyle Capital, Compound, Upside Partnership and Transmedia Capital. http://bit.ly/2smNgsO

GreatHorn, a Belmont, Mass.-based provider of cybersecurity solutions for cloud communications platforms, has raised $6.3 million in Series A funding. Techstars VC Fund and .406 Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by ff Venture Capital, SoftTech Ventures and RRE Ventures. www.greathorn.com

Mic, a millennial-focused online content company, has raised $6.5 million in new Series C funding from WPP PLC, bringing the round total to $28.4 million. Existing backers include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Time Warner Investments, kyu Collective and You & Mr. Jones. http://bit.ly/2rRgrFz

CloudPost Networks, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of security and risk management software, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Wing Venture Capital. www.cloudpost.us

Lingokids, a Madrid-based English learning platform, has raised $4 million in new VC funding from Holtzbrinck Ventures, JME Venture Capital and Bessemer Ventures Partners also participated. http://tcrn.ch/2sRP3Hz

• Modacruz, a Turkey-based mobile marketplace for secondhand women's clothing, has raised $2 million in Series B funding led by Middle East Venture Partners. http://bit.ly/2rzMrtH

🚑 Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems, a Pensacola, Fla.-based provider of early detection systems for diabetic eye disease,, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding. Ballast Point Ventures led the round, and was joined by Providence Ventures and CoxHealth. www.retinalscreenings.com

Private Equity Deals

• The Blackstone Group, Cindat Capital Management (China) and GIC (Singapore) are among the bidders for a 50% stake in the Australian senior housing business of LendLease Group (ASX: LLC), according to Bloomberg. The deal could be worth around A$1 billion. https://bloom.bg/2sSOsW3

• Callcredit Information Group, a British portfolio company of GTCR, has acquired Confirma Sistemas and Soluciones Confirma, a pair of Spanish sister companies that provide fraud prevention and anti-money laundering software. No financial terms were disclosed. www.callcredit.co.uk

• Hellman & Friedman has agreed to acquire SnapAV, a Charlotte-based maker of "installation-friendly audio, visual, networking, power and surveillance products for the home, from General Atlantic. No financial terms were disclosed. www.snapav.com

Global Environment Fund has acquired Gro-Well Brands, a Phoenix-based provider of natural and organic lawn and garden products. No financial terms were disclosed. www.gro-well.com

MidOcean Partners has acquired a controlling interest in Affinity Dental Management Holdings, a provider of management and administrative support services for dental practices in Western Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. www.midoceanpartners.com

🚑 RoundTable Healthcare Partners has invested in Deerland Enzymes & Probiotics, a Kennesaw, Ga.-based maker of enzyme- and probiotic-based dietary supplements. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2sPD3FL

• Sverica has acquired iWave Information Systems, a Prince Edward Island-based provider of fundraising intelligence SaaS to healthcare, education and nonprofit organizations. No financial terms were disclosed. www.iwave.com

• Tech Air, a Danbury, Conn.-based portfolio company of CI Capital Partners, has acquired Angelus Welding, a Los Angeles-based distributor of welding supplies and industrial gases. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2sSQe9q

Liquidity Events

🚑 Lee Equity Partners has hired Moelis & Co. to find a buyer for Eating Recovery Center, a Denver-based provider of eating disorder treatment centers that is expected to generate around $45 million in 2017 EBITDA, according to Dow Jones.

More M&A

• Cosco Group, a Chinese state-owned shipping container operator, is in advanced talks to acquire smaller rival Orient Overseas Container Line for at least $4 billion, according to the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2sStwyB

• Ericsson has hired Morgan Stanley to explore a sale of its media solutions business, and hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale for its broadcast and media services unit, according to Bloomberg. The Swedish tech company also agreed to sell its power modules business to Flex (Nasdaq: FLEX) for an undisclosed amount. https://bloom.bg/2sSeRDK

• Landing Trade Group has agreed to acquire Interstate Commodities, a Troy, N.Y.-based grain management company, for an undisclosed amount. http://reut.rs/2sNVDy9

⛽ Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) has rejected a $2.5 billion offer from Glencore PLC (LSE: GLEN) for its Australian coal assets, instead recommending an earlier $2.45 billion offer from Yancoal Australia (ASX: YAL) – which Rio Tinto believes could be completed faster. http://on.wsj.com/2rCfnBo

• Unilever has agreed to acquire Hourglass, a luxury color cosmetics brand. No financial terms were disclosed. http://bit.ly/2rAmwlA

Fundraising

• Adams Street Partners has raised $475 million in LP commitments for new direct VC and growth equity efforts. www.adamsstreetpartners.com

Morado Ventures is targeting $75 million for its third fund, per an SEC filing. www.moradoventures.com

• Seven Peaks Ventures, a Bend, Ore.-based VC firm, is raising upwards of $30 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. www.sevenpeaksventures.com

• TPG Capital is planning to begin raising $3 billion for its fourth growth equity fund later this year, according to Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/2tq7Yqf

It's Personnel

• Tony Bates, the former Skype executive who most recently was president at GoPro, has joined venture firm Social Capital as CEO of a new growth equity arm. http://bit.ly/2rzYsiW

Kenna Baudin has been promoted to head of U.S. private equity at executive search firm Egon Zehnder.

Bessemer Venture Partners has promoted Charles Birnbaum, Amit Karp and Kristina Shen to partner. www.bvp.com

🚑 Jorge Conde, former chief strategy officer for Syros Pharmaceuticals and the founding CEO of Knome, has joined Andreessen Horowitz as the second general partner on the firm's bio fund. www.a16z.com

• Mark Cranney, a former operating partner with Andreessen Horowitz and an ex-Opsware executive, has joined SignalFx as chief commercial officer.

• Jeffrey Housenbold has joined SoftBank as a senior investing member of the $93 billion Vision Fund. He previously was CEO of Shutterfly. SoftBank also confirmed earlier reports that former Deutsche Bank investment banker Colin Fan has joined in a similar capacity. www.softbank.com

• Mark Lehmkuhler has joined law firm Orrick as a Hong Kong-based partner in its M&A and private equity group. He previously was a partner with Davis Polk. www.orrick.com

• Hal Malone has joined WL Ross & Co. as head of its shipping and transportation practice. He previously was chief strategic officer of shipping management company Navig8 Group and, before that, was a maritime industry banker with Jefferies. www.wlross.com

• Go Yamashita has been named head of KKR Capital Markets Japan. He previously was with The Blackstone Group. http://bit.ly/2sUP7G5

Final Numbers

Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

More: Oil's big slide

Featured

Uber boots Travis Kalanick

Evan Agostini / AP

Axios business editor Dan Primack texted me instantly on the news of Uber parting ways with CEO Travis Kalanick: "This is shocking. It's this generation's version of Steve Jobs being kicked out of Apple. (I know — not apples/apples since he's staying on the board, wasn't the founder, etc.)"

  • Why it matters: "Uber being uber (the German version) is largely due to Travis' drive and vision. For all of the [bro] stuff, he changed global transportation."
  • One more thing: "They've struggled to hire a COO. But now that it's top job, expect them to talk to both [Silicon Valley] names and Fortune 500 types."
  • Earlier, Dan had the scoop on the revolt, which came "as Uber has dealt with months of scandals and just one week after Kalanick voluntarily took an indefinite leave of absence from the company."