Uber’s initial public offering could be one of the biggest tech offerings of all time, but the company’s valuation may not be as high as some investors expected. Blame Lyft’s performance following its own IPO.
The ride-sharing unicorn—market jargon for a privately held company valued at $1 billion or more—plans to sell around $10 billion worth of stock, and is likely to make public the registration of the offering on Thursday, Reuters reported. Uber declined to comment.
Where we were. Lyft (LYFT) opened up this year’s wave of tech unicorns taking their companies public, but Uber is the main attraction.
Uber brought in $11.3 billion in revenue last year. It also bled less red ink, reporting a loss of $1.8 billion based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or Ebitda, compared with $2.2 billion in 2017.
The company has far better international reach than Lyft has. Uber recently purchased its largest competitor in the Middle East, the Dubai-based Careem, and owns a 17.5% stake in Didi Chuxing, the leading Chinese ride-hailing company.
Lyft shares have struggled since their hot debut. The stock closed Tuesday down nearly 4% to $67.44, well below its peak in the high $80s. That performance may have inspired Pinterest to seek a valuation in its own IPO lower than it achieved in its latest funding round.
What’s new. Uber will seek to sell $10 billion of stock at a price that would value the company at between $90 billion and $100 billion, according to the Reuters report. The company would likely issue most of the shares, though some of the stock sold would be from Uber investors cashing out, it said.
Uber was valued at $76 billion in its most recent private fundraising round, but investors thought the company might have sought a $110 billion valuation, or about 10 times its 2018 revenue. The lower number, according to Reuters, was influenced by Lyft’s poor performance.
Looking ahead. Selling stock at a lower valuation than investors had expected might attract attention, as well as scare away short sellers, but like Lyft, Uber still must prove it can become profitable. Venture-capital unicornsare risky bets for public investors.
Ride-hailing services will likely continue to play an important role in the future of transportation, but as Barron’s Al Root wrote in January, there are still questions investors should consider before they jump on the IPO bandwagon.