Uber aims for $84 billion valuation in the year’s largest IPO

The Uber logo is seen outside the company's headquarters building in San Francisco.
(Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images)

Uber Technologies Inc. is seeking to raise as much as $9 billion in an initial public offering that could give the ride-hailing giant a market valuation of as much as $84 billion.

The No. 1 ride-hailing company plans to offer 180 million shares at $44 to $50 each, according to a regulatory filing Friday. The filing puts Uber on track to make its trading debut in May on the New York Stock Exchange in what is expected to be the year’s biggest U.S. IPO.

At the top of the range, the listing would value Uber at almost $84 billion, based on the number of shares outstanding after the offering, as detailed in the filing. On a fully diluted basis, including the addition of stock options, restricted shares or other stakes not included in the outstanding total, the valuation could top $91.5 billion.


PayPal Holdings Inc. has agreed to buy $500 million of Uber’s stock at the IPO price in a private placement. The investment is part of a deal to extend the payment company’s partnership with Uber. The two companies plan to work together to develop a digital wallet for Uber, a spokesman for PayPal said.

Uber also provided a range for its first-quarter performance in the updated filing. Based on the midpoint of Uber’s projections, the San Francisco company expects to have a net loss of $1.07 billion on $3.07 billion in revenue in the quarter. Revenue growth slowed to 19% compared with the same quarter last year, down from 22% growth in the comparable fourth quarter.

At the low end of the range, Uber’s market valuation would be just $74 billion — below its last private funding round, in which Toyota Motor Corp. invested at a valuation of about $76 billion. Uber is taking a conservative approach to its valuation and could later raise the price depending on investor demand, people familiar with the matter have said. Last year, bankers jockeying to lead the offering told Uber it could be valued at as much as $120 billion in an IPO.

Some recent big listings by technology unicorns have seen valuations come back down to earth after years of access to huge pools of private capital. Shares of Lyft Inc., which made its market debut in March at a $20.5-billion valuation, have since dropped 22%, to well below their IPO price. Uber’s ride-hailing rival has a market value of $16.1 billion as of Thursday, much closer to its last private funding round at $15.1 billion.

Pinterest Inc., meanwhile, has seen its shares soar since it priced its April 17 IPO below the last private valuation of $12.3 billion. The stock closed 52% above its trading debut Thursday at $28.80, valuing the digital image sharing company at $15.2 billion.

Venture capital firm Benchmark, Uber’s second-biggest shareholder, plans to sell the most shares in the public offering, Friday’s filing shows. At the high end of Uber’s range, the sale could net the firm $287 million. It would still hold onto 8.5% of Uber’s shares after the transaction.

The SoftBank Vision Fund, as well as Uber co-founders Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, also intend to sell portions of their holdings.

Uber’s offering is set to be among the 10 largest U.S. IPOs of all time and the biggest on a U.S. exchange since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s $25-billion global record holder in 2014. In March, ride-hailing rival Lyft Inc. raised $2.34 billion in its IPO — the year’s biggest so far — amid a swarm of listings by tech-related companies including Pinterest Inc. and Zoom Video Communications Inc.

Other high-profile start-ups with plans to go public, or considering it, include Slack Technologies Inc., Postmates Inc., Palantir Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc.

Uber’s offering is being led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. The bankers, along with the company’s management, will hit the road to start marketing the stock to potential investors Friday, according to a term sheet reviewed by Bloomberg. They’ll travel to cities including New York, London, Boston and San Francisco to pitch the shares, before aiming to set the final price on May 9, the terms show.

The presentations will feature comparisons to e-commerce kingpins Inc., Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter has said.

“We believe the company’s rapid expansion in food delivery will help it sustain top-line growth of more than 30%, even with its core platform sales decelerating to about 15% growth in the latest quarter,” said Mandeep Singh, North American technology analyst.

In 2018, Uber lost $3.04 billion on an operating basis on revenue of $11.3 billion, bringing total operating losses over the past three years to more than $10 billion, according to earlier filings. The company reported a net income of $997 million for 2018. The profit was mainly driven by Uber’s sale of assets in Southeast Asia and Russia as well as an increase in the estimated value of its stock in Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing company, which Uber sold its Chinese business to in 2016.