Uber Offers Shares For $45 in Long-awaited Wall Street Debut

(UPI) — Ride-sharing giant Uber will make its long-awaited debut on Wall Street Friday, where it’s expected to become one of the most valuable companies to ever go public.

Late Thursday, the company placed its IPO price at $45 per share — on the low end of an expected range of $44 to $50 it forecast in a filing last month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Uber is offering 180 million shares of common stock, with an option for underwriters to purchase an additional 27 million shares in the next 30 days. It will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “UBER.”

The global ride-sharing outfit is projected to raise $8.1 billion and command a valuation of about $82 billion, making it the larges U.S.-listed IPO since Alibaba Group went public in 2014. Uber’s valuation is significantly lower than it was just a few months ago, when analysts projected a company worth $100-$120 billion.

Since it began operating in 2009, Uber has expanded and diversified its transportation services with offerings like its Uber Eats food delivery and Uber Freights for shipping and its acquisition of Dubai-based company Careem, which offers similar services in the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan.

A prospectus filing last month showed the San Francisco-based company reported $11.3 billion in revenue in 2018 and a net income of $997 million, while also reporting an adjusted loss of $1.85 billion. Uber has never turned a profit in its 10 years of operation.

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was removed as the company’s chief executive in 2017 amid sexual harassment accusations, still owns nearly 10 percent of the company. He owns the third-most shares of any shareholder and the most of any individual stockholder, at 117.5 million. SoftBank Vision Fund firm Cayman 2 is the second-largest shareholder with 222 million shares and Benchmark Capital Partners owns 11 percent, according to the SEC filing.

Uber’s IPO comes just weeks after the Wall Street debut of rival Lyft, which saw a starting price of $87 on the Nasdaq in March — nearly twice Uber’s initial price. Lyft’s IPO exceeded expectations and placed the company’s total value at $25 billion. Since then, however, Lyft stock has sunk to $55 per share, as of Friday.

Uber’s debut also comes directly on the heels of an international strike this week by drivers of both Uber and Lyft. Hundreds of drivers in major U.S. cities and many in Europe switched off their apps and took part in demonstrations to urge the company to increase wages.