Tech

Uber quizzed on growth at IPO roadshow in London

Key Points
  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sought to persuade money managers in London that the loss-making ride hailing firm's growth plans justified a valuation of up to $91.5 billion in an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Uber is trying to show investors that it can shift from being simply a ride-hailing service to a technology platform for services ranging from delivering groceries and take-away meals to organizing freight transportation.
  • Uber reported on Friday it was aiming for a valuation of between $80.5 billion and $91.5 billion, less than the $120 billion investment bankers told the company last year it could fetch.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO, Uber
Carlo Allegri | Reuters

Uber Technologies Inc Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi sought to persuade money managers in London that the loss-making ride hailing firm's growth plans justified a valuation of up to $91.5 billion in an initial public offering (IPO).

In the ballroom at Claridge's, the five-star hotel in London's wealthy Mayfair district, over 100 investors listened on Monday to Khosrowshahi and Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai talk about the company's plans to expand their food delivery business and venture into other new business areas like shopping.

Uber is trying to show investors that it can shift from being simply a ride-hailing service to a technology platform for services ranging from delivering groceries and take-away meals to organizing freight transportation.

"While they didn't call themselves Amazon, they made several references to their platform and how they intend to build that out," said one investor who attended the hour-long presentation but declined to be named.

Uber reported on Friday it was aiming for a valuation of between $80.5 billion and $91.5 billion, less than the $120 billion investment bankers told the company last year it could fetch.

It also disclosed it suffered a loss of around $1 billion on sales of roughly $3 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

Uber has cautioned in its IPO filing that it may never make a profit and some investors at the roadshow said the ride-hailing industry faces hurdles such as increased regulation and local minimum wages that could hamper profitability.

"It's going to be much more difficult and cumbersome to extract profitability," said another investor who attended the roadshow. Uber's lower valuation target follows the poor performance of smaller rival Lyft Inc, whose shares are down around 20 percent from when the company listed last month.

Lyft was the first U.S. ride-hailing company to go public and one challenge investors grappled with was how to value a company with no clear peer.

The second investor who attended the Uber roadshow said people should look at the airline industry, as opposed to other technology companies, when assessing Uber's business model.

"If you think about airlines, there's a lot of barriers to entry and there are capital intensive barriers, but ultimately airlines are not massively profitable," the investor said.

A spokesman for Uber declined to comment on the investor comments.

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