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Sam Jayne / Axios

Uber's board of directors continues to engage in preliminary talks with three different investor groups, for a transaction that mostly would involve the purchase of shares from existing investors (a.k.a. secondary shares), according to The NY Times.

This comes after early investor Benchmark Capital sued former CEO Travis Kalanick to force him off the board of directors, another small group of shareholders called for Benchmark itself to sell its shares and the board itself begged for peace. On Monday afternoon, Benchmark explained its actions in a letter to Uber employees.

  • Players: One of the offers comes from Japan's SoftBank Group, while another is a pairing of Dragoneer Investments and existing Uber backer General Atlantic. A third was put together by the shareholder group that wants Benchmark out, and supposedly would buy those shares at the company's current valuation of approximately $70 billion, but no identities have yet been disclosed.
  • 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).
  • Hold them horses: Just because Uber's board is entertaining secondary offers (i.e., is willing to waive transfer restrictions), that doesn't mean it will necessarily ink a deal or 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. Moreover, 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 tries 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.

Go deeper

Reports: CIA finds "Havana Syndrome" unlikely caused by foreign campaign

CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill last April. Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

A preliminary CIA report rules out a foreign global campaign as the cause of American and Canadian diplomats affected by a mysterious illness known as "Havana syndrome," per multiple reports.

Why it matters: Some lawmakers had suggested the sometimes debilitating illness was due to directed energy attacks. But CIA officials told the New York Times that most of the 1,000 cases reported to the government could be "explained by environmental causes, undiagnosed medical conditions or stress." This finding has angered some victims, per the NYT.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.