Facing heat after booking ban, Uber warms up to Times of India, earns its money

On December 31, 2014, three weeks after Uber was banned in Delhi following an argument against a female driver by an Uber driver, The Economic Times Editor sent an email to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick: allow Uber to start working again, maybe January is a good time for you to re-launch your travel plan… I want you to go to New Delhi on January 16th and 17th, when The Economic Times Global Business Summit is held… help set the agenda for policy establishment in India and other countries. You will be able to familiarize yourself with the decision makers in India. “

The same day as this email from The Economic Times (published by The Times of India Group), Kalanick wrote to his colleagues: “Let’s be careful about maintaining a strong relationship with ToI… if there is what we can do for them right, we have to do. “

On January 1, 2015, the day after his email, Allen Penn, Uber’s head at the time in Asia, wrote to senior colleagues stating that Kalanick would be delaying his trip, “ clear the air of debate, allow time for the high progress of the government. and business meetings ” – Kalanick postponed his trip to India.

Within three months of this email, an episode of The Uber Files researched by The Indian Express, the Times Internet, the digital arm of the Times of India Group, announced that it was operating an “economic operation.” and Uber.

A report in The Economic Timeson March 23, 2015 said it was “about Rs 150 crore” to allow Uber to “use the access of assets acquired by the Times Group, in print, television and with 150 million users on the computer. ”

On the same day, Uber also announced that “the company and Times Internet have entered into a joint venture to support Uber’s expansion in India”.

Traditionally, the ban on Uber was lifted on July 8, 2015, when the Delhi Supreme Court overturned the Delhi government’s order denying Uber’s application for a license to run on the streets of the Capital.

The December 2014 emails and the March 2015 show are on ET in the section of The Uber Files.

India isn’t the only place where Uber is looking to partner with a media company.

The Washington Post, a partner in the study, reports that Uber “has removed standard barriers to newspaper ethics by inviting media owners to invest in Uber, in the hope that sign up with them to build high -quality relationships and spread a positive message ”.

An email from Rachel Whetstone – who was Vice President of Public Relations and Policy at Uber from June 2015 to April 2017 – said: “Having (Bild parent company Axel) Springer is invaluable. on our side if we want to succeed in Germany… I think they really do things to help. “

“Other business owners who bought shares on Uber included Lord Rothermere, owner of the Daily Mail in the UK, Ashley Tabor-King, who co-founded founder of Europe’s largest commercial radio company, and Carlo de Benedetti, publisher of Italian newsweekly L’Espresso? who asked Uber executives to help connect Kalanick with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in 2015, according to emails. (De Benedetti noted that he hosted some of the group’s executives for dinner at his home in Rome that year but he said “I did not do any lobbying activities with them or anyone else.”), “the Post report said.

Responding to questions from The Indian Express and The Guardian on the Times Internet-Uber deal, Sivakumar Sundaram, managing director, executive committee, Times of India Group, in an email, said , “Initially, we reject your incentives and color. Questions, believing that Times Internet Limited’s acquisition of Uber is related to articles published in Times Group publications.

“We strongly oppose your attempt to discredit us, as an independent advertising agency that is not affiliated with any political / political party and is a staunch pillar in our economic and diverse community for a almost two centuries…, “he said.

“Without a specific complaint against Times Internet Limited (hereinafter referred to as TIL), and without infringement of our rights or disputes we are an independent company of TIL and its management. separate.All investments made by corporations within the corporation shall be in their business and in compliance with the laws of India and the code of conduct applicable to the corporations Times.

“Regarding the BCCL, we can attest to the years we have had a friendly advertising relationship with Uber in India. We strongly refuse to participate in any local activities or Uber policies. , as you stated in your email.We refuse to train or provide Uber with any form of political participation or to promote changes to the law/policy. “These are the things in the said organization, and you can directly relate to them in this regard,” he said.

“We can assure you that the” organization “in question is not affiliated with the knowledge as described and is an advocacy and advocacy initiative where advertising and advocacy support is provided. sales support according to the customer’s needs in a professional way. business, ”Sundaram said.

The Uber Files also reports that Uber has prepared lists of politicians, businesses and thought leaders called “stakeholders”, numbering over 1850 in 39 countries including India, including the idea is to turn people at the center of policy action.

On December 17, 2013, Nikos Stathopoulos, Director of the public policy office in Brussels, sent an email to a lawyer with copies to two FIPRA employees and a group of Uber employees. says Uber is looking for a “list of 4-5 stakeholders in each city, where they choose 3 to join… the desired stakeholders are not always (e.g. police, drivers, etc.) but are ‘friendly’ people who can help protect and publicize Uber and educate Uber about the car / rental market.

“These people may be young people, advanced, technological, or old executives who have no ideas in the automotive industry, or important people with a lot of knowledge. the piece, “Stathopoulos wrote.

Uber explained that “it is very much looking for safety meetings,” the email was on a list of “affiliates” who were “in the process of being shut down for India” where the car service began. ride from Bengaluru in August of that year.

Opinions, a spokesperson for Uber, responding to questions about the company’s relationship with media companies, said, “Like most startups, Uber is looking for investment banker who can help us understand certain markets and grow our business… No idea .. good management strategy depends on investment. a lot of serious criticism from different parts of the media community.

On ‘stakeholders’, the spokesperson said, “We are working with these stakeholders to educate them about our business, to seek to understand how we can better serve them. to the needs of local communities, and to support sustainable development that supports drivers, drivers and cities. ”

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