Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Uber plans to kick off IPO in April

Uber plans to kick off IPO in April

Uber's initial public offering is said to to be one of the biggest of the year, at a $120 billion valuation, a major jump from its current valuation at $72 billion.

This would mean that SoftBank, which already owns 14 percent of Uber by way of venture capitalism over the years, would take on a minority stake along with an unnamed carmaker in Uber's self-driving unit. Lyft, by contrast, said in its prospectus that its 2018 revenue totaled $2.2 billion and a loss of $911 million, which according to Axios would be the largest loss ever for a company entering the public markets for the first time.

In addition to Uber, SoftBank has poured money into ride-hailing companies such as Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia.

Uber will actually get beaten to an IPO by its smaller rival, Lyft, which is expected to complete its IPO in the coming weeks.

"There is only so much capital investors are willing to put into ride-sharing companies", said Kathleen Smith, a principal and manager of IPO ETFs at Renaissance Capital.

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Uber's revenue a year ago was $US11.3 billion, while its gross bookings from rides were $US50 billion. But the company lost $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russian Federation and Southeast Asia.

Both companies have been steadily increasing revenue, however, both companies are also losing billions of dollars per year as they attempt to reign in costs and make other tweaks in their quest to achieve profitability. The former previously invested in Uber and in 2018 made a $2.25 billion investment in General Motors' self-driving auto division. The company lost $US911 million.

It could also help underscore Uber's value as the ride-hailing firm prepares for a stock market debut in which its value could top $100 billion.

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, has previously said a culture change is a work in progress.

A group of investors including SoftBank Group is in talks to invest $1 billion or more into Uber's self-driving vehicle unit, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

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