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Every Uber Solution Creates New Problems

Showering unhappy drivers with shares only sounds like the perfect fix.
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Uber’s got some issues. Lots of them, in fact. It has no CEO and is having a little trouble finding one, what with the old guy still sitting on the board and waiting in the wings to retake the Iron Throne, Steve Jobs-like, when whoever Uber does find screws up. Now, the shareholders who forced that former CEO to become a former CEO don’t like that idea at all, so they are working hard to make the former CEO also a former board member. Oh yea, and it’s drivers are not the happiest bunch of non-employees in the world.


Someone has an idea to fix that last problem: Give those drivers some of Uber’s cratering shares! It would presumably make those drivers happier and perhaps offer a bit of stability, diluting the say of Uber’s current big shareholders. Months of horrendously bad publicity come to an end as Uber shows its one big happy family.

Of course, there are a few issues with that plan.

The S.E.C. provides limited exemptions from the securities registration process for private companies issuing stock to non-employees. Consultants and advisers qualify, and Uber has held talks with the regulator about whether independent contractors could be included….

Rewarding its loyal contributors could help improve Uber’s image and prevent those who complain about pay and expenses from jumping to rival services. It could, however, bolster the arguments of those who claim that drivers are de facto employees and should collect the associated benefits.

Another potential problem for Uber is that investors who are already upset over mismanagement could be further irked by any dilution of their holdings. Though Uber has tapped most sources of start-up capital already to build a large cash cushion, it still burns through dollars and may need investors to pitch in again in the future.

No wonder Meg Whitman wants nothing to do with this company.

Stock Handouts to Drivers Could Help Steady Uber [DealBook]
Meg Whitman Stands by Statement She Won’t Be Uber CEO [WSJ]



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