Uber Officially Files IPO in New York Stock Exchange With Valuation of up to $120B

Ride-sharing rival Lyft went public last month with a $24 billion valuation, but the stock price has dropped considerably since launch.

byStephen Edelstein|
Uber Officially Files IPO in New York Stock Exchange With Valuation of up to $120B

Uber is moving ahead with its long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). On Thursday evening, the ride-hailing company released a pre-IPO prospectus known as an S-1 and announced that it will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "UBER," according to CNBC. The IPO filing will test Wall Street's interest in ride-hailing, and other businesses in the so-called "gig economy."

Uber's filing comes just two weeks after Lyft launched its own IPO. The two companies have been racing to go public for months, in a rivalry that has become the ride-hailing equivalent of Ford vs. Chevy. Uber's IPO is expected to be much larger than Lyft's however, as Uber is a much larger company. Lyft launched its IPO with a valuation of $24 billion, but Uber is reportedly seeking a valuation of $120 billion.

In its S-1 prospectus, Uber reported 2018 revenue of $11.27 billion, as well as net income of $997 million. But it also reported an adjusted loss of $1.85 billion. Profits have proven elusive for Uber (as well as Lyft) despite the use of a low-overhead business model in which drivers are treated as freelance contractors, rather than employees. Those drivers also supply their own cars and cover related costs like maintenance and fuel. Yet Uber has continued to post losses even while avoiding these costs.

On the bright side, Uber reported that the number of trips and gross bookings (defined as the dollar amount of ride-hailing trips, Uber Eats deliveries, and Uber Freight rates) increased between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. That indicates Uber has fought its way back from numerous scandals that occurred under previous CEO Travis Kalanick. Ousted in 2017, Kalanick still owns 8.6 percent of Uber, making him the company's third-largest shareholder, according to the IPO documents. His stake could be worth up to $9 billion, according to CNBC.

Some potential roadblocks to continued growth are cropping up, though. Cities are concerned that ride-hailing services are increasing traffic, and drivers continue to agitate for higher wages and full-employment status. In 2018, New York City instituted a one-year cap on new registrations for ride-hailing vehicles and has set a minimum wage for drivers.

Uber has tried to address criticism through initiatives like encouraging drivers to use electric cars, linking its app to public-transit services, and expanding into bike- and scooter-sharing, but the ride-hailing service the company pioneered remains at the core of its business.