A $364 MILLION MISTAKE: How Universal Blew Its Chance To Cash In On Uber

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Kara Swisher has a profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in Vanity Fair. Here's a crazy story we just learned reading it.

When Uber, the startup that makes an app you can use to summon a taxi, first started in 2010, it was called UberCab.

It lived on the Web at UberCab.com.
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In the fall of 2010, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the California Public Utilities Commission told UberCab it couldn't have "cab" in the name because it wasn't a properly licensed taxi company.

So UberCab became Uber.

Suddenly, it needed to own Uber.com.
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The problem: Uber.com was owned by Universal Music Group.

The solution: Uber gave UMG a 2% stake in exchange for the domain. Today, Uber is worth $18.2 billion.
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A 2% stake in Uber would be worth $364 million.

Sadly for UMG, it sold its 2% back to Uber for $1 million just a couple years after the initial deal.

Ouch.
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For a little context: It would cost UMG just over $200 million to buy Big Machine, Taylor Swift's record label.