Uber's Rocky IPO Is a 'Near-Term Speed Bump,' Wedbush's Ives Says

Uber shares fall on stock market debut

Uber Trades Below Last Private Value in Rocky Start After IPO

After the biggest initial public offering of the year, Uber Technologies Inc ended its first day of trading Friday below its last private valuation.

Uber opened at $42, or 6.7% below its $45 IPO price.

Nelson Chai, the company's chief financial officer who was at the NYSE to mark the first day of the stock's trading, said in a CNBC interview that he was not focused on one day of trading and was more concerned about the company's long-term outlook.

But market experts have struggled to find value in a company that has consistently posted losses, and warned that it may never be profitable.

Uber eventually hired Dara Khosrowshahi, who had led online travel business Expedia, as CEO and he has set about cleaning up the company to get it in shape for an IPO.

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Facing a turbulent time at its drivers' end, Uber priced its IPO at $45 per share with an aim to raise $8.1 billion.

In a prospectus filed with the SEC prior to its IPO, Uber explained that its entire strategy was to dominate the transportation ecosystem, from taxi services to buses meal delivery to trucking to those e-scooter things that everyone hates, and outlast its competitors by hoping everyone else runs out of money before they do.

The opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange was rung by Austin Geidt, one of Uber's earliest employees.

Lyft's falling stock this week put pressure on Uber as it finalized the price of the most anticipated IPO since Facebook's debut in 2012.

At least it's not the worst start ever for an IPO. While Uber briefly clawed back nearly all its losses by early afternoon, the comeback ultimately proved to be short-lived.

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But it's relatively uncommon for USA technology companies backed by venture capital, like Uber.

As Gizmodo's Brian Merchant writes, driver dissatisfaction is baked into the cake of both Uber and Lyft's business models: "Treating drivers as replaceable, disposable placeholders for algorithms is finally taking its toll". The San Francisco company already has lost about $9 billion since its inception in 2009 and acknowledges it could still be years before it turns a profit.

Uber's growth has slowed precipitously recently; in the first quarter, the company said revenue rose just 18%-20%. Its total operating losses over the past three years were more than US$10 billion, according to filings.

In distributing the stock, Uber prioritised shareholders - particularly institutional investors - that it thinks will hold on to the shares for a long time.

Uber's IPO price was lower than initially expected, and the caution may have been driven by escalating doubts about the ability of ride-hailing services to make money since Uber's main rival, Lyft, went public six weeks ago. Uber had made up 10% of Friday's equity trades as of 1:28 p.m.in NY at TD Ameritrade. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. led the listing.

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