- Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he would fulfil a career ambition in securing investment from Warren Buffett after Bloomberg revealed that talks took place over a $3 billion deal.
- Khosrowshahi said he is a Buffett “fanboy,” but doing a deal with Berkshire Hathaway is not a top priority right now.
- He confirmed that Uber remains on course to IPO in 2019.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he would fulfil a career-long ambition in securing investment from Warren Buffett – but the deal is not top of his priority list right now.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway came close to taking a $3 billion (£2.2 billion) stake in Uber, but deal the fell apart because of disagreements over the size and terms of the potential investment.
Soon after the news broke, Khosrowshahi and Buffett confirmed that the talks did take place. The Uber CEO told CNBC that “we did have discussions” and, although not all the details of the Bloomberg report were accurate, the deal was a very tempting prospect.
“One of my business goals in life has been to get Warren Buffett to invest in something that I’m involved in and, so far, I failed,” Khosrowshahi said. “His brand, his smarts are unparalleled. I’m a Warren Buffett fanboy.”
The feeling was mutual with Buffett saying on Wednesday that he is a “great admirer” of Khosrowshahi. The Uber boss said it’s “always possible” that talks could resume, but there “has to be a match.”
“We are a company that has an enormous growth trajectory, but at the same time, that comes with considerable risk. I don’t think we necessarily fit in with the typical Warren Buffett investment. Maybe we can be a different kind of an investment, a portfolio diversification play for him,” Khosrowshahi explained.
The former Expedia CEO said, however, that doing business with Buffett is not his “first priority” right now. “First priority is to continue building a management team, continue to invest in the brand and get us in a position where we can build a big business and, along the way, go public,” he added.
Khosrowshahi confirmed that Uber remains on course to IPO in 2019. “Lots of things can happen in the world but we have a reasonable buffer as well, so I think we’re in a pretty good spot,” he said.