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Uber valued at $82bn as shares make debut

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The ride-hailing app sold 180 million shares at $45 per share and started its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

The IPO raised $8.1bn, valuing Uber at $82.2bn.

Pricing at $45 per share was at the lower end of Uber’s indicated range, which went as high as $50 per share.

The conservative approach to the company’s valuation is likely to have been influenced by the recent performance of Uber’s smaller rival Lyft. The fellow ride-hailing app has had a disappointing run since it listed on the Nasdaq in late March, with its share price down by more than 20%.

In addition, it has been a tough week for the US stock market, as trade tensions took their toll. On Friday, the US hiked trade tariffs to 25% (from 10%) on $200bn worth of Chinese goods. This prompted China to promise that it would retaliate.

Uber’s growth has been exponential in recent years and it has established itself as a disruptive business model in the taxi industry, with a presence in more than 60 countries. However, the business remains loss-making.

Jordan Hiscott, chief trader at ayondo markets, commented: “I find it intriguing that investors would want to participate with this valuation as high as $82 billion, whilst still being a loss-making company. Admittedly that’s in the extreme short-term and for balance I actually find the company interesting on a longer term basis- mainly for its ability to harness the gig economy whilst also changing how we view and use automobiles for transport.

“Lastly the IPO felt a tad rushed, with general financial market conditions not ideal for such a highly priced listing at the moment. Perhaps there was a reasoning that given the potential headwinds later in the year, now was as good of a time as any.”

It certainly hasn’t been plain sailing for Uber, which has come under criticism over the years. For example, it faced sexual harassment claims by female employees in 2017 and came under fire after classifying its drivers as self-employed contractors.

Back in 2017, Transport for London banned Uber in London – a decision that was overturned in June of last year.