Uber's real value could be much lower than the price where its public debut is set, according to one expert.
The ride-hailing start-up is reportedly seeking a $100 billion price tag when it debuts on the New York Stock Exchange this spring. But NYU Stern professor Aswath Damodaran arrived at his own valuation that's roughly 40 percent lower.
Damodaran, a closely followed valuation expert, used two frameworks to come up with two lower price tags.
The first is known as a "top-down" valuation, a conventional way to value companies based on the total addressable market, market share, margins and reinvestment to come up with a value. The other uses a framework based on the amount of users on a platform, or in this case, riders.
His first version gives Uber a value for equity of about $61.7 billion. That translate into a share price of $54, although the total share count right now is "hazy" and that could change when the company updates its prospectus. The second rider-based valuation gives Uber a valuation of $58.6 billion for Uber's equity, which, depending on the share count, translates to a share price of $51 per share, according to Damodaran.
Both estimates are well below the expected $100 billion, which translates into a roughly $95 per share, that Uber is reportedly seeking.
"The market is a pricing game and not a value game," Damodaran told CNBC in a phone interview. "When you have young companies like these it's all mood and momentum driving prices."