Uber Technologies Inc on Thursday revealed its initial public offering (IPO) filing, saying more than 90 million riders used the service worldwide while warning it may never make a profit due to pressure from rivals. The Uber filing gave the first comprehensive financial picture of the ride-hailing and transportation services company. Started in 2009 after its founders struggled to get a cab on a snowy night, Uber has changed the way millions of people travel and commute but continues to lose money.
The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed Uber had 91 million users on its platforms at the end of 2018. Uber said in its filing it expects operating expenses to "increase significantly in the foreseeable future" and cautioned it "may not achieve profitability."
The company set a placeholder amount of $1 billion but did not specify the size of the IPO.
Reuters reported this week that Uber plans to sell around $10 billion worth of stock at a valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion. Investment bankers had previously told Uber it could be worth as much as $120 billion.
Uber will follow Lyft Inc in going public. Shares in its smaller rival closed at $61.01 on Thursday, 15 percent below its IPO price set late last month, a development which has had chilling signal for other tech start-ups looking to go public.
There are questions about how Uber will navigate any transition towards self-driving vehicles, a technology which is seen as potentially dramatically lowering costs but which could also disrupt its business model.
After making the public filing, Uber will begin a series of investor presentations, called a roadshow, which Reuters has reported will start the week of April 29. The company is on track to price its IPO and begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange in early May.
One advantage Uber will likely seek to play up to investors is that they are the largest player in many of the markets in which it operates. Analysts consider building scale at a critical mass is crucial in order for Uber's business model to become profitable.
In addition to questions about its finances, Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi will be tasked with convincing investors that he has successfully changed the company's culture and business practices after a series of embarrassing scandals over the last two years. Those have included sexual harassment allegations, a massive data breach that was concealed from regulators, use of illicit software to evade authorities and allegations of bribery overseas. Khosrowshahi joined Uber in 2017 from Expedia Inc to replace company co-founder Travis Kalanick who was ousted as CEO.
Uber said in its filing its ridesharing position in the United States and Canada was "significantly impacted by adverse publicity events" and that its position in many markets has been threatened by discounts from other ride-hailing companies.
Uber last year had revenue of $11.3 billion, while gross bookings from rides was $50 billion. But the company lost $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russia and Southeast Asia.
Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli