Uber files for IPO, plans to go public in early 2019
- Ride-hailing giant Uber has made a confidential filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO), The Wall Street Journal reports. The timing of the filing suggests Uber could go public in the first quarter of 2019, subject to SEC review. The Journal reports the company could be valued at $120 billion.
- The news came a day after rival Lyft announced it had filed its own IPO. Details on the amount of shares or their price has not yet been determined.
- The Journal notes Uber is likely to emphasize its various side projects to potential investors, such as its acquisition of dockless company Jump and its Uber Eats delivery service. The company is also likely to emphasize its footprint in more than 70 countries.
The race to be the first ride-hailing giant to go public is heating up as the year draws to a close. But investors could be skittish about buying shares in Uber, given that it lost $1.07 billion in the third quarter of this year — even as its sales went up 38% to $2.95 billion — and does not expect to turn a profit for three years. However the company remains highly valued, at $76 billion, having raised about $20 billion in venture capital backing.
Since Dara Khosrowshahi took over as CEO, Uber has taken steps to broaden its offerings beyond ride-hailing, a move that could be seen as diversifying its revenue streams while also being more corporately responsible. In addition to its moves with Jump and Uber Eats, it has bolstered its Uber Freight shipping service and has been rumored to be acquiring either Bird or Lime, two of the biggest dockless scooter and bike companies in the United States. Meanwhile, the company has continued to test autonomous vehicles (AVs), although reports have swirled that that section of the business could be spun off or closed down altogether, especially after it shut down its AV operations in Arizona.
With both Uber and Lyft positioning themselves to go public early next year, it will be interesting to see not only who wins the race, but also how that changes business models. In an interview with the Fox Business Network, Paul Hudson, founder and chief investment officer of Glade Brook Capital Partners LLC and an investor in both companies, said going public could help ride-hailing companies become “much more rational and disciplined,” but may also put pressure on other technology startups to go public. The likes of Slack, Palantir and Airbnb all could go public next year as well.
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