Uber raises $2 billion in debut junk bond sale ahead of blockbuster IPO

  • Uber raised $2 billion through its debut junk bond sale.
  • It is preparing for an IPO that media reports have noted could value it at more than $100 billion.
  • Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said last month the firm is on track to launch its IPO next year.
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, looks on following a 2018 event in New Delhi, India.
Anindito Mukherjee | Getty Images
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, looks on following a 2018 event in New Delhi, India.

Uber has raised $2 billion in a junk bond sale as it gears up for its 2019 stock market debut.

The ride-hailing firm confirmed to CNBC that it had raised $1.5 billion through the sale of eight-year notes with a yield of 8 percent — it had initially pitched $1 billion — and an additional $500 million by selling five-year notes with a yield of 7.5 percent in a private placement led by Morgan Stanley. The news was originally reported by the Financial Times.

The embattled start-up is preparing for an initial public offering that media reports have noted could value it at more than $100 billion — far more than its last reported valuation of $72 billion, which it notched after a $500 million capital injection from Japanese carmaker Toyota. It is currently one of the most valuable privately held firms in the world.

The fundraising follows a separate report by the FT on Wednesday that said Uber has mulled the sale of minority stakes in its struggling self-driving unit, known as the Advanced Technologies Group.

"Shared self-driving cars will ultimately make transportation safer, more efficient, and more affordable for riders on the Uber network," the company said in an emailed statement to CNBC in response to that report.

"Our team at the Advanced Technologies Group is wholly focused on building the safest self-driving technology out there, and we remain committed to supporting their efforts to make this self-driving future a reality."

The autonomous driving unit suffered a major setback earlier this year after a fatal crash involving one of its driverless vehicles in Tempe, Arizona. It also ended a legal battle with Google's self-driving car division Waymo in February, with a settlement that saw Waymo take a 0.34 percent stake in the company worth $245 million at the time.

Uber's Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said last month the firm is on track to launch its IPO next year and has no plans to sell the Advanced Technologies Group.

A spokesperson for Morgan Stanley declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

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