High Expectations Overshadow Uber's IPO Filing


The blowback from the problems helped Lyft pick up ground in the USA - something Uber acknowledged in its filing - and led to the ouster of Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO in 2017.

Aside from its flagship ride-sharing app, the company operates a food delivery service called "UberEats", which earned $1.5 billion in revenue past year, and a shipment fulfillment segment called "Uber Freight". Both Lyft and Uber have been hit by accusations of underpaying and overworking their drivers, and have been the subject of protests in major cities.

"We expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, and we may not achieve profitability", the company said. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Uber generated US$2.54 billion in adjusted net revenue, with US$2.31 billion of that coming from ridesharing.

Back in December, the company filed a confidential S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, hinting that it could go public sometime in the first half of 2019. Although its user base includes customers of other services and ride-sharing, the number is almost five times the 18.6 million announced by rival Lyft Inc. The company also said it earned revenue of more than $11 billion during 2018.

On Monday, Pinterest Inc set a price range for its IPO that values it below the $12 billion at which the online image-search company sourced its last private fundraising in 2017. According to the Wall Street Journal, Uber is aiming for a public valuation of as much as $100 billion. Those deals contributed to nearly $5 billion in what Uber called "other income".

As is the case for Lyft, Uber has so far been losing money.

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After making the public filing, Uber will begin a series of investor presentations, called a roadshow, which Reuters has reported will start the week of April 29.

Travis Kalanick, the former CEO who resigned in 2017 under pressure from the board, is one of Uber's largest shareholders, owning almost 9 per cent of the ride-hailing company's stock.

Last year, the ride-hailing giant settled a legal dispute over trade secrets with Alphabet Inc's Waymo self-driving vehicle unit.

Those have included sexual harassment allegations, a massive data breach that was concealed from regulators, use of illicit software to evade authorities and allegations of bribery overseas.

- Travis Kalanick, Uber's founder, owns 8.6%.

Uber said its market share fell in most regions previous year, although the rate of decline has slowed. But Lyft's shares have fallen starkly since opening at $US72 in late March, closing at just over $US61 on Wednesday, raising some investor concerns about the sustainability of the ride-hailing model.