Uber eyes US$90 billion IPO valuation

Uber’s long-awaited roadshow for what is expected to be 2019’s biggest US IPO is expected to kick off on April 26. (Bloomberg pic) 

SAN FRANCISCO: Uber Technologies Inc is aiming for a valuation of about US$80 billion to US$90 billion in its initial public offering, just above its last private funding round, according to people familiar with the matter.

The ride-hailing company is planning to start marketing shares to potential investors in a price range of about US$44 to US$50 each, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Uber could aim to raise about US$8 billion to US$10 billion in the listing, though the final details of the pricing may still change, the people said.

At the lower end of the range, the price would value Uber just above its last private funding round, in which Toyota Motor Corp invested at a valuation of about $76 billion.

Uber is taking a conservative approach to its valuation and could later raise the price depending on investor demand, the people said.

Last year, bankers jockeying to lead the offering told Uber it could be valued at as much as US$120 billion in an IPO.

Some recent big listings by technology unicorns have seen valuations come back down to earth after years of access to huge pools of private capital.

Shares of Lyft Inc, which made its market debut in March at a US$20.5 billion valuation, have since dropped 22%  to well below their IPO price.

Uber’s ride-hailing rival has a market value of US$16.1 billion as of Thursday, much closer to its last private funding round at US$15.1 billion.

Pinterest Inc, meanwhile, has seen its shares soar since it priced its April 17 IPO below the last private valuation of US$12.3 billion. The stock closed 52% above its trading debut Thursday at US$28.80, valuing the digital image sharing company at US$15.2 billion.

Road show

Uber is expected to set the terms for its IPO as soon as Friday before heading out on a road show to market the stock to potential investors, the people said. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America Corp are leading the offering.

A spokesman for Uber declined to comment.

An US$8 billion offering would be more than three time’s ride-hailing competitor Lyft’s US$2.34 billion IPO, the world’s biggest listing so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It would rank Uber’s IPO as the ninth largest on a US exchange and the biggest since Alibaba Group Holding’s record US$25 billion listing in 2014.

Money-losing Uber is one of a swarm of tech-related companies that have gone public this year or are considering it.

Alongside Pinterest, Zoom Video Communications Inc made its trading debut this month. Other high-profile startups looking to go public include Slack Technologies Inc, Postmates Inc, Palantir Technologies Inc and Airbnb Inc.

In its initial IPO filing, Uber revealed an operating loss of US$3 billion in 2018, bringing its total operating losses over the past three years to more than US$10 billion.

The San Francisco-based company is planning to pitch itself to possible investors as a global transportation platform, people familiar with the matter have said, building – and then supplying – new demand for everything from scooters and bicycles to freight and food delivery.