May 10, 2019: Uber is the world's leading ride-hailing service. It now has a market value of $82.4 billion US. Everybody has been waiting for the long-awaited Uber arrival on the stock market. The initial public offering was priced at $45 per share late Thursday. This is the biggest and most hotly debated IPO in years. Uber is the world's leading ride-hailing service. The price is at the lower end of its targeted range. Uber's main rival, Lyft, went public six weeks ago. Uber downgraded IPO expectation after Lyft's poor opening. There are increasing doubts about the ability of ride-hailing services to make money. On Friday, Uber shares begin trading the New York Stock Exchange.
Uber's IPO is the biggest since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group debuted with a value of $167.6 billion US in 2014. Uber boasts its growth. Its revenue last year surged 42 per cent to $11.3 billion US while its cars completed 5.2 billion trips around the world. There have been problems. Some Uber drivers have been accused of assaulting passengers and one of the self-driving test vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona last year while a backup driver was behind the wheel. Lyft seized upon the scandals to gain market share.
Some of Uber drivers say they have been mistreated by the company. They work long hours and wear out their cars picking up passengers. On Wednesday, some of them participated in strikes across the United States ahead of Uber's IPO but barely caused anything. A similar strike was organized ahead of Lyft's IPO with little effect. Uber disclosed Thursday that it reached a settlement with tens of thousands of drivers who alleged they had been improperly classified as contractors. Uber may be able to avoid Lyft's post-IPO stock decline. Uber has plans to be more than a ride-hailing company by being all things transportation to users of its app, offering deliveries, scooters, bicycles and links to other modes of transportation including public mass transit systems. It still remains to be seen what will happen. Shareholders have to be convinced.