Uber had its IPO today—May 10, 2019—but it turned out to be kind of a bummer for the company. It priced its shares at $45 for its IPO, but it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $42 per share.
Three dollars per share doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that the Uber IPO was supposed to end up leaving the company with a valuation of $120 billion. Instead, the low-price trading gave the company a valuation of $74 to $75 billion. That’s still quite a lot of money, but considering that the IPO left the company $50 billion below its expected valuation, that is still a problem.
The Uber IPO did happen in the shadow of stocks that plunged by 300 points after President Trump’s tweet that “there is absolutely no need to rush” trade talks with China.
Uber CFO Nelson Chai said in an interview with CNBC that “this was a tough day” to have an IPO. When he was asked if executives thought about delaying the IPO as a result of the battered stock market, Chai said, “I don’t think that we’re smart enough to try to judge the market … we weren’t optimizing to have the best opening price on the opening day. We’re really looking for how the stock continues to trade over time and that’s what we’re building for.”
Competitor Lyft hasn’t been doing so well on the market since its March IPO, either; its stock value has decreased by more than 20 percent from its IPO price.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Lyft’s performance led executives to have a more conservative outlook on its IPO price. He also said that 2019 should be the company’s peak year for losses. And looking for a way to soften the news about its disappointing IPO, Uber compared itself to Amazon, which was also not profitable at its IPO.
“It’s a fair comparison at the wrong time,” Khosrowshahi told CNBC. “So a lot of private companies now are holding off much longer before they go public. We are much bigger, much more mature as a company as we go public, and if you do look at the growth rates, our audience is growing 33 percent on a year on year basis. To be able to grow transactions 36 percent on a $50 billion base is pretty incredible, and we hope to keep it going.”
The Uber IPO is also incentivizing Khosrowshahi. If he can keep Uber’s valuation above $120 billion for 90 consecutive days once the company went public, he will win net stock bonuses of more than $100 million.
“I wasn’t expecting it any time short term,” Khosrowshahi told CNBC. “I’m here to stay. I’m here to build a big company. That compensation term is not about a single day, it’s about what value you create over 10 years, and over 10 years, absolutely I expect to go there.”
As of 1:11 p.m. Eastern Time, Uber shares were trading at $44.55.
What do you think of the Uber IPO? Do you think it’s a good move? Do you think it will ultimately help Uber or hurt it in terms of valuation? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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