Ride-hailing giant Uber files for United States initial public offering

Daniel Fowler
April 12, 2019

In the end, Uber is widely expected to be the biggest technology IPO since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group went public in 2014.

The filing noted that Uber offers ridesharing in some 700 cities but has bolder ambitions to reshape how people and goods are transported with operations such as meal deliveries, freight, and electric bikes and scooters. Investment bankers had previously told Uber it could be worth as much as $120 billion.

Uber continues to be heavily loss-making despite its significant growth and expansion into new businesses, the taxi app has revealed as it filed to go public in NY. It said its revenue a year ago rose 42 per cent to reach $US11.3 billion ($NZ16.8b), and it achieved a $US1b profit, derived from selling some of its overseas businesses. But its 2018 operating loss was just over $3 billion, down from the $4 billion net loss it incurred in 2017.

During the IPO roadshow, Uber's chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, will be tasked with convincing investors that he has successfully changed the company's culture and business practices after a series of embarrassing scandals over the last two years.

Uber will follow Lyft in going public. The company is on track to price its IPO and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange in early May.

A representative for Uber declined to comment. Shares in its smaller rival closed at $61.01 on Thursday, 15 percent below its IPO price set late last month, a development which has had chilling signal for other tech start-ups looking to go public.

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Customers travelled 26bn miles using the app past year.

Uber operates in more than 70 countries.

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.

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.

But it suspended testing when one of its self-driving vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona a year ago.

The company also established an internal Advanced Technologies Group in 2015 that focuses exclusively on developing autonomous vehicle technologies. Alphabet also owns roughly 5% of Lyft's stock.

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