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Sam Jayne / Axios

The Uber situation has somehow devolved even further since last Friday morning, when we knew that Benchmark had sued former CEO Travis Kalanick for fraud.

Axios scooped just hours later that a group of small outside investors (led by Shervin Pishevar) asked Benchmark to both leave the board and divest enough shares so as to no longer have board appointment rights (including a claim that it had enough enough investor interest to buy Benchmark's stock at the latest valuation, which would value the bucket north of $6 billion).

Uber's board — minus Kalanick and Benchmark — later issued a "can't we all just get along" statement, while the NY Times reported yesterday that the board also is proceeding with preliminary secondary offer talks. Not only from SoftBank, but also the Pishevar group and a third bid from Dragoneer and General Atlantic (the latter of which may have the best chance of bringing the warring factions together, due to existing relationships). This is all still very fluid, but some thoughts:

  • Hold them horses: Just because Uber's board is entertaining secondary offers (i.e., willing to waive transfer restrictions), that doesn't mean it will find takers. Particularly at a discount, as sources on both sides of the divide say the company's core business continues to grow the top-line and shrink the loss line. And, as we mentioned Friday, Benchmark could have added legal troubles from other Uber shareholders if it were to sell in any way that could increase Kalanick's influence. So could Uber if it tried forcing sales at a discount to the latest 409(a) valuation of $41 per share. In the end, this could just become insiders like Garrett Camp and Ryan Graves taking some money off the table, while the key combatants remain fully engaged.
  • Breakdown: Deal talks are mostly for secondaries, but both SoftBank and Dragoneer's discounted offers would include a little bit of primary investment at the current valuation (read: help backers like Saudi PIF save face).
  • Feedback: I suggested that the past week could represent the end of venture capital's "founder friendly" era. Fred Wilson disagrees.
  • Timing: Remember that Uber said it would have a new CEO in the chair by Labor Day. That's two weeks from right now.
  • Casting: This is going to make a fantastic book, and perhaps an even better movie. So who should portray key players? My early picks include Colin Farrell for Kalanick, Meryl Streep for Arianna Huffington and Bob Einstein for Bill Gurley. Send me your picks

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Mounting emissions data paints bleak picture on Paris climate goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers keep finding new ways to reveal that nations are together showing very few signs of getting on track to meet the Paris Agreement's goals.

One big question: That's whether a spate of recent analyses to that effect, and scientific reports coming later this year, will move the needle on meaningful new policies (not just targets).