It’s been widely known that Travis Kalanick’s shares in Uber gave him significant control over the company even after he was ousted as its CEO.
But we didn’t know for sure how much voting power he really had — until now.
According to a lawsuit filed by Benchmark Capital on Thursday against Kalanick, Uber’s founder owns about 10% of the company’s stock and about 35% of its Class B common shares. Thanks to Uber’s complicated stock and ownership structure, those holdings give him about about 16% of Uber’s total voting power, according to the suit.
The lawsuit also reveals how much stock and voting power are held by Benchmark, one of Uber’s early investors, which provides a good comparison. Benchmark has about 20% of total Uber’s voting power. It owns about 13% of Uber’s stock, but only about 0.5% of its common shares.
While Benchmark’s voting power nominally gives it the clout to outvote Kalanick, Kalanick currently controls three out of 11 board seats, his own and two vacant seats. Control of those seats is determined in part by the voting rights that go with Uber’s common stock, not its preferred shares, which is what Benchmark primarily holds, according to the lawsuit.
Kalanick’s control over those three seats has allowed him to stay so actively involved at Uber that it’s been difficult for the company to find a new CEO, Benchmark claims in its suit. Benchmark, which was instrumental in forcing Kalanick to resign as Uber’s CEO in June, believes Kalanick is using the seats and his voting power to plot his return as CEO, something its lawsuit is trying to prevent. The venture capital firm is also trying to get Kalanick kicked off the board.
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