A host of highly-valued private companies are planning to go public this year, but the winds could be changing for some of them.
Uber Technologies, Lyft Inc., Palantir and Pinterest are just a few of the unicorns expected to dive into the public markets in 2019, but a number of factors — including shakiness in the broader markets, public appetites for the offerings and the ongoing government shutdown — could delay some of them.
In an analysis published this week, The Information pegged Uber’s market cap at $90 billion, a good deal less than the eye-popping $120 billion valuation that banks reportedly assigned Uber during a fall 2018 pitch process. The $90 billion figure was derived from undisclosed financial documents from Uber, and adjusted for recent market volatility. But there is a range of opinion on Uber’s prospective market cap in an IPO. The Prime Unicorn Index, for example, placed Uber’s valuation at $44 billion as of November 2018.
Several companies expected to go public in 2019 have been privately valued in the multiple billions, including Uber rival Lyft ($15 billion in its last private financing), data mining firm Palantir ($40 billion), visual search app Pinterest ($12 billion), and messaging service Slack ($7 billion).
But 2019 is already shaping up as a potentially tricky time for IPOs — and not solely because of market volatility, explained David Ethridge, head of U.S. IPO services at PwC.
“We’re at a unique point in the capital markets because it’s not everyday that the SEC shuts down,” Ethridge said, referring to the partial federal government shutdown, now in its 17th day, that has shuttered most of the Security and Exchange Commission’s operations.
That means depending on at what point a company filed or plans to file, there’s no one at the agency to read their documentation or to steer the comment period that follows a filing. It also means that once the lights come on, there will be a significant backlog to get through.
“Even if the shutdown ends by Jan. 15, you could see delays for some companies for a period of time,” Ethridge said. And if the shutdown were to continue for weeks longer, there’s a conceivable scenario in which no IPOs occur in the first quarter of 2019, he added.
How market volatility might affect IPO timing is another question entirely.
Alongside broader market weaknesses, large-cap tech names have collectively shed billions in value since the fall of last year, and according to Santosh Rao, Head of Research at Manhattan Venture Partners, investors might be feeling a bit more picky about what they’re willing to buy in to.
“I think even the investors have become more careful,” Rao told TheStreet’s Kevin Curran in an interview this week. “They don’t want to buy in to the hype that you get with all these consumer-facing Internet companies. I think they are more focused, and they will analyze everything.”

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3 thoughts on “Prime Unicorn Index placed Uber’s valuation at $44 billion in November 2018

  1. uberdrivertnluv says:

    While it is nice to see more realistic valuations showing in the news, and with the SEC shutdown, whenever they do go IPO what will the value really be?

  2. Terry says:

    Prime Unicorn Index is now digging deeper and finding Uber is not even worth the $44 Billion it initially thought. Due to unfocused industry gig-jobs (self-driving, scooters, flying cars, wasted investor money), lowered driver pay, local and international lawsuits, no profit quarters since inception, etc. The true valuation will be much lower than originally thought. We are about to see this company collapse, unless they focus on the only portion of Uber that does make money, rideshare!

  3. Stephan says:

    If Lyft is at $15 Billion valuation, even though Uber is bigger, I just don’t understand how Uber could even be in the realm of $120 Billion valuation? They have no unique ideas regarding technology, they simply ride coat tails on old ideas. The biggest problem though, they have more lawsuits than any other company in history, and the kicker is they have never had a profitable quarter. Surprised they think they will IPO anywhere close to that. The $44 Billion seeems closer, but still too high.

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