Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Travis Kalanick sells nearly $1.5bn worth of Uber shares

The co-founder of the ride hailing company may offload entire stake

Uber Technologies co-founder Travis Kalanick sold off about $578 million of stock over three days this week. Photo: Getty
Uber Technologies co-founder Travis Kalanick sold off about $578 million of stock over three days this week. Photo: Getty

Travis Kalanick’s November selling spree has almost reached $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn).

The Uber Technologies co-founder sold off about $578 million of stock over three days this week, extending a series of transactions since a lockup ended November 6. More disposals may be coming with a November 11 filing signalling that Mr Kalanick could offload his entire stake.

The 43-year-old’s holding in the ride-hailing company now constitutes far less than half of his $3.3bn fortune. The shift started taking place even before Uber’s May listing, with Mr Kalanick participating in private transactions after he was ousted as chief executive officer in 2017.

“While it is usual to see directors with such a high value holding selling regularly, Kalanick’s sales are unusually high,” said Michael Tindale, chief executive of Smart Insider, which tracks and analyses share transactions by directors and senior managers.

A spokeswoman for Mr Kalanick has declined to explain the sales, and Uber’s press office didn’t immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after hours on Thursday.

Other insiders also have reduced holdings, though not on the scale of Mr Kalanick. Co-founder Garrett Camp has sold about $20 million shares this month, a fraction of his $2bn stake.

Mr Kalanick’s sales underline his focus on other investments even as he remains a director of Uber. He created a fund called 10100 in March 2018, saying in a tweet it would focus on his “passions, investments, ideas and big bets.” The fund will handle Mr Kalanick’s for-profit investments and philanthropy and plans to invest in real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovation in China and India, according to its website.

One investment is CloudKitchens, which he funded with $300m of his own cash. A $400m injection from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in January valued the food startup at $5bn.

The capital requirements of such investments might explain the pace of his Uber sales. The real estate business is costly and there’s plenty of competition for CloudKitchens including from former colleagues at Uber.

The sales also reflect good financial practice.

“You have to assume any executive’s financial adviser wants them to sell some of their company stock because executives are inherently undiversified,” said Marc Ullman, a New York-based partner at Meridian Compensation Partners. “Most of their wealth tends to be in their company’s stock.”

Updated: November 22, 2019 10:48 AM

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