Term Sheet April 25, Uber’s IPO, Bitcoin Tether Woes, and Other Letters
Fri Apr 26 2019
Lucy Harlow (3494 articles)

Term Sheet April 25, Uber’s IPO, Bitcoin Tether Woes, and Other Letters


Happy Friday! Lucinda here filling in for the (consecutive) time until Polina’s return Monday. So please do begin sending deals back her way at Polina.marinova@fortune.com, and rejoice that you’ll be safe from my clutches in a mere three days.


Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s valuation bonus is off to a nonstarter.

The commander-in-chief is eligible for 1.75 million in options at a price of $ 33.65 apiece should Uber reach an average fully-diluted valuation of $ 120 billion or more for 90 contiguous days.

But at the high end of Uber’s IPO pricing range, the valuation falls short of that. Uber says it plans to raise roughly $ 8.5 million in an IPO of 180 million shares priced between $ 44 to $ 50 apiece—valuing the firm at about $ 91 billion at the high end of the range. Of course, IPOs often price above range and then proceed to pop on the first day. So for now, the jury is still out.

Other fun facts: The high-end of Uber’s range doesn’t leave later investors much breathing room. It last sold shares for roughly $ 48.77 apiece during its 2018 Series G round. In that layer of financing, Softbank spent $ 1 billion to add to its stake while TPG spent $ 47 million. Saudi Arabia’s pension fund and DiDi also bought stakes worth $ 3.5 billion and $ 1 billion at that price—though their deal was (slightly) sweeter with options.

Several stockholders are selling a segment of their own shares in the IPO: Softbank is selling 2% of its stake worth as much as $ 272.5 million. Benchmark is offering 4% of its pool worth as much as $ 287.4 million. Founder Travis Kalanick himself is offering 3% ($ 186.8 million) of his current stake. Others making some cash in the IPO include Lowercase Ventures, First Round Capital, and TPG.

PayPal meanwhile has agreed to purchase $ 500 million of Uber’s stock. PayPal and Uber also plan “to explore future commercial payment collaborations, including the development of our digital wallet.”


At least, that’s what the New York attorney general is alleging.

Thursday night, the AG dropped a 23 page legal filing saying that Bitfinex, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, had claimed to have taken $ 700 million in loans from Tether—a company Bitfinex owns—to help cover up $ 850 million in lost funds.

The filing allege that those funds had gone to (what is believed to be) a Panamanian payment processor known as Crypto Capital. Those funds included both customer and corporate dollars.

Bitfinex later repeatedly asked for those funds back, according to the filings, but Crypto Capital said the the money had been seized by government authorities in Portugal, Poland, and the United States. Based on a back-and-forth in the filing, a senior Bitfinex did not believe the seizures.

Though in a public letter following on the filing, Bitfinex argued the filing misconstrued reality.“On the contrary, we have been informed that these Crypto Capital amounts are not lost but have been, in fact, seized and safeguarded,” it wrote in a blog post.

For the uninitiated: Flies have been buzzing around Bitfinex for a while now, with several critics questioning whether or not Tether is truly backed by the U.S. dollar. Tether for its part hasn’t posted audits to prove that it indeed has the reserves it claims to have.

Either way, it’s a blow to the crypto trading world. Tether is said to account for 80% of Bitcoin trading, per CryptoCompare.

Read the story here.

Letters: The Kleiner Perkins Empire Is Alive and Well

In response to Polina’s investigation into “How the Kleiner Perkins Empire Fell” from earlier this week, KP partners including John Doerr issued a defense on Fortune. According to the statement, the firm is “firing on all cylinders having just raised KP 18—a $ 600 million early stage fund that was 200% oversubscribed—and is investing in some of the most sought-after early stage companies.”

They add: “Also muddled in the article is the rationale for the separation of venture and growth and Mary Meeker’s efforts to raise an independent fund. What we said last September remains true today: The two funds had grown apart with limited synergy between venture and growth and it was mutually agreed that it was in both parties best interests to pursue separate paths. There is nothing more complicated to the story than that.”

Read the letter here, and read the full feature here.


TPG Capital said Bill McGlashan, a former worker accused in the ongoing college bribery scandal, will forfeit 100% of his vested and unvested interest.

“The thorough investigation conducted by Ropes & Gray LLP, with support from Ernst &Young LLP, found no evidence that any other TPG personnel were implicated in or aware of the conduct alleged in the charges against Mr. McGlashan,” a TPG spokesperson said in a statement.

In a separate TPG letter to employees and LPs obtained by Fortune, the investigation also found that McGlashan had introduced the man at the center at the scandal, Rick Singer, to co-workers at TPG—pointing to Singer’s business ideas as potential investments.

The team eventually decided early on there wasn’t an opportunity there.


• Ford Invests in Rivian (by Tamara Warren)

• Central Banks Are the World’s Newest Climate Change Activists (by Katherine Dunn)

• Microsoft Joins the $ 1 Trillion Club (by Chris Morris)

• Verizon Reveals 20 More Cities Getting 5G Mobile this Year. Here’s What You Need to Know (by Aaron Pressman)

Walmart unveils AI enabled store lab. Cantor Fitzgerald’s mug of crap. Uhm who knew Ray Dalio had a career advice app? Kyle Bass aims at the Hong Kong dollar. Dying deals add to Europe’s collapsing M&A landscape. OECD says 14% of jobs are at high risk of automation. Warren Buffett: ‘I’m having more fun than any 88-year-old in the world’ (Paywall). DOJ seeks guilty plea on Goldman’s 1MDB settlement. Huawei and the U.K. Google allows for arbitration option in sexual harassment allegations. PepsiCo is suing farmers in India for growing the potatoes used in Lays chips. Larry Fink returns so Saudi Arabia post Khashoggi.

Lucy Harlow

Lucy Harlow

Lucy Harlow is a senior Correspondent who has been reporting about Commodities, Currencies, Bonds etc across the globe for last 10 years. She reports from New York and tracks daily movement of various indices across the Globe


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