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

Updated 2 hours ago - Science

Texas and Louisiana face fresh flood threat from Tropical Storm Beta

Tropical Storm Beta slowly approaching the Texas coast on Monday. Photo: National Weather Service/Twitter

Tropical Storm Beta was dumping heavy rains over Texas as it churned its way inland overnight, bringing the risk of "life-threatening storm surge" and flooding to parts of the state and Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said.

What's happening: The slow-moving storm was causing coastal flooding along areas including the bays near Houston and Galveston in Texas Monday, per the National Weather Service. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) made a disaster declaration and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,328,238 — Total deaths: 964,839— Total recoveries: 21,503,496Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,857,967 — Total deaths: 199,884 — Total recoveries: 2,615,949 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: CDC says it mistakenly published guidance about COVID-19 spreading through air.
  4. Media: Conservative blogger who spread COVID-19 misinformation worked for Fauci's agency.
  5. Politics: House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11.
  6. World: U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections — "The Wake-Up Call" warns the West about the consequences of mishandling a pandemic.

Louisville police declare state of emergency as Breonna Taylor decision looms

A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

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