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Travis Kalanick in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2012 (AP's Paul Sakluma)

A select group of Uber's institutional investors is exploring ways of removing Travis Kalanick as CEO, Axios has learned from multiple sources. Among those in the discussions is said to be venture capital firm Benchmark, whose partner Bill Gurley is on Uber's board of directors. Others include First Round Capital, Fidelity Investments, Lowercase Capital and Menlo Ventures.

"The question is what to do about Travis," said one Uber shareholder. "We're working through it."

Update: About 30 minutes after this story was published, The NY Times reports that Kalanick has resigned due to investor pressure.

Complications: Uber's investors do not really have the legal ability to fire Kalanick, so long as his longtime board allies Garrett Camp (Uber's founder and chairman) and Ryan Graves (Uber's first employee and current executive) remain reliable votes. So the actual mechanics of what the investors are attempting remain unclear, so long as neither Camp nor (to a lesser extent) Graves have flipped. One source said that litigation could eventually occur, while another referred to the situation as "very fluid."

Context: The investor discussions come as Uber has dealt with months of scandals and just one week after Kalanick voluntarily took an indefinite leave of absence from the company. The leave was related to both the sudden death of his mother as well as the broader workplace culture crisis at Uber, which included allegations of sexual harassment and led to the termination of at least 20 employees and the resignation of chief business officer and Kalanick confidant Emil Michael.

It also is unclear who would replace Kalanick as CEO, or what his role moving forward with the company might be.

Uber spokespeople have not yet returned requests for comment, nor has Gurley.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

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Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

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The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

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Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).