Ridesharing

Uber Predicts IPO In 18 Months As Lawsuit Goes To Arbitration

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said during his first appearance in front of the company’s employees that he has set a timeline for an IPO of between 18 and 36 months. The news comes on the same day a court ruled that Benchmark’s lawsuit against former CEO Travis Kalanick should move to arbitration.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Dara Khosrowshahi, who is starting his new position on Tuesday, indicated that the timeframe for Uber’s IPO isn’t a firm deadline, but the range gives him time to restore order to a company plagued by scandals and legal issues, as well as losses that totaled over $3 billion last year.

“This company has to change,” said Khosrowshahi, according to Uber. “What got us here is not what’s going to get us to the next level.”

One of Khosrowshahi’s first tasks will be to fix the ridesharing company’s employee culture, which, under Travis Kalanick, was guided by 14 corporate values, including “toe-stepping” and “principled confrontation.” An internal investigation into allegations the company ignored complaints of sexism and sexual harassment led to the dismissal of those values.

“If culture is pushed top down, then people don’t believe in it,” Khosrowshahi said, according to Uber. “Culture is written bottoms up.”

While the Uber board voted unanimously to hire Khosrowshahi, there is still strife behind the scenes. On Wednesday, a Delaware court ruled the case Benchmark has against Kalanick to be moved to arbitration, allowing a nasty public battle. At issue is a change to the ridesharing company’s board structure last year that expanded the number of voting directors by three, with Kalanick having the sole right to fill those seats. Benchmark accused Kalanick of hiding a number of misdeeds when he asked Uber’s board to give him those extra seats. Kalanick was forced to resign his position as CEO in June, but he remains on Uber’s board.

Kalanick said in a statement that he is “pleased that the court has ruled in his favor today and remains confident that he will prevail in the arbitration process. Benchmark’s false allegations are wholly without merit and have unnecessarily harmed Uber and its shareholders.”

Shervin Pishevar, an Uber investor and Kalanick supporter who has been trying to intervene in the lawsuit, also released a statement to Forbes, calling the battle between Benchmark and Kalanick “one of the grandest business and moral battles of our generation.”

“We devote our actions to a just cause; to defend what is right and to protect the interest of not only shareholders but most importantly the far more important stakeholders of employees, drivers and customers whose lives have been forever altered by the abiding faith and fervent hard work of Travis Kalanick and the Uber team,” wrote Shervin Pishevar.

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