Uber Cranks Up Long Awaited IPO

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Uber today finally did what observers long anticipated: unveil its highly hyped initial public offering, a red letter event for a company that pioneered the business of ride hailing around the world, changing the way folks get around.

The IPO is slated to rake in $100 billion, dwarfing that of its closest competitor, Lyft, who’s value was projected at $24 billion when it launched its IPO last month. Uber itself did not announce the valuation it was seeking from investors. Many observers say Uber’s public debut could eclipse that of Japan based online retailer Alibaba, and could be the biggest IPO since its matured tech startup counterpart, Facebook.

Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Barclays and Morgan Stanley are among the major banks helping Uber with the IPO. When it finally hits the market it will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “UBER.”

Inside Uber’s S1 statement, the company shed some light on its finances in the previous years that brought it to this point. It showed a three year uptrend in revenues, from $3.8 billion in 2016 to $7.9 billion in 2017 to last year’s $11.3 billion. Meanwhile its liabilities also trended upward, from $6.8 billion in 2016 to $12 billion in 2017 to $14.3 billion in 2018. Uber showed a net gain of $997 million in 2018 after two straight previous years of losses.

Its adjusted profit and loss after EBITDA is -$1.8 billion, an improvement over last year’s losses of $2.6 billion.

Uber reports 10 billion trips were made on the service through September 2018 (an additional 5 billion trips was made in the months since then). Most of this activity comes mostly from five cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, NYC, London and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Analysts are pouring over Uber’s numbers to see if its long awaited IPO can live up to the hype, while watching its closest competitor Lyft for clues on what awaits Uber. While Lyft’s post IPO stock status has been shaky, Uber’s growth should help it better survive Wall Street fluctuations.

Uber’s CEO stated in the company prospectus that he’s aware of the challenges facing the ride hailing company, and Uber’s up to meeting them.

“Because we are not even one percent done with our work, we will operate with an eye toward the future,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.  “We will optimize for the happiness and loyalty of our customers rather than marginal trip or transaction growth. And we will not shy away from making short-term financial sacrifices where we see clear long-term benefits.”

Uber is aiming to be this year’s biggest success story among tech oriented companies that zoomed from startup status to unicorn to IPO in a span of a few years. Lyft and Penterest have already launched their IPO’s this year and more are expected.