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SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son. Photo by Alessandro Di Ciommo/Getty

Early Uber investors Benchmark Capital and Menlo Ventures have said that they will sell a portion of their shares in the ride-hail giant to Japan's SoftBank Group via a well-publicized stock tender. There are no specifics on how many shares the firms might be willing to sell, nor is it certain that the deal will get done.

Bottom line: Do not underestimate how concerned VC firms are of crossing SoftBank. Not only has it become venture's largest and most aggressive player via its $98 billion Vision Fund, but it also has become a vital source of interim liquidity.

Venture capitalists obviously owe a fiduciary duty to their investors, but could rationalize selling a small percentage of Uber stock in order to maintain the possibility of SoftBank investing in other portfolio companies.

Other Uber notes:
  • New Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is in a strange position. He badly wants the SoftBank deal to get done, which means he will do what is required to support the discounted valuation. At the same time, however, he has fiduciary obligations to increase the company's value. This conflict can be rationalized, but it shouldn't be ignored.
  • SoftBank got a shot in the arm yesterday when the Waymo vs. Uber trial was delayed after a mysterious letter from a former employee of the ride-hailing company surfaced. Kia has more.
  • Uber's Q3 financials are out. Gross revenue +11% over Q2 to $9.71 billion and net revenue +21% to $2.01 billion. But quarterly losses also are up 38% to $1.46 billion.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.