NEW YORK, May 14 — Uber stocks went into a fresh skid yesterday — more bad news for the global ride-hailing giant, which endured steep declines in its hotly anticipated market debut last week.
Shares in the company tumbled more than 11 per cent to US$36.96 (RM153.89) mid-afternoon on the second day of trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Valued at some US$82 billion in one of the biggest initial public offerings (IPOs) in the technology sector, Uber’s debut Friday was a major disappointment, losing 7.6 per cent.
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi urged employees to look past the rough patch of road on Wall Street and stay focused on better days ahead, according to a copy of an internal email seen by AFP.
“Remember that the Facebook and Amazon post-IPO trading was incredibly difficult for those companies,” Khosrowshahi said in the message.
“And look at how they have delivered since. Our road will be the same.”
He noted that yesterday was a tough day for the stock market overall, not just for the San Francisco-based ride-share company with visions of becoming the “Amazon of transportation.”
Khosrowshahi acknowledged that there were plausible versions of Uber’s future in which the company does not prosper as hoped, but warned against being distracted by pessimistic voices.
“Sentiment does not change overnight, and I expect some tough public market times over the coming months,” he said in the email.
“We will be judged long term on our performance, and I welcome that.”
Troubled road ahead
Richard Windsor, an analyst who writes the Radio Free Mobile tech blog, said Uber and Lyft had been pressured by their high valuations and intense competition.
Uber and Lyft are “engaged in a life or death struggle to become the dominant ridesharing platform in the USA,” Windsor said.
“It is this reality combined with the very high valuations at which they have been listed that is putting the pressure on these companies.”
Lyft shares fell six per cent to US$47.87, and have given back some 30 per cent since the company’s market debut in late March.
Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities said he expected the “valuation digestion process” to take some time and that he remained upbeat on Uber even if it will take three to four years to reach profitability and despite competition with Lyft.
“We believe there is a large enough ocean for two boats as the ridesharing market domestically in the US is roughly US$1.2 trillion and US$5.7 trillion globally,” Ives said.
“We expect ridership, drivers and the monetisation opportunities for Uber to increase markedly over the coming years. A core tenet of our bull thesis on Uber is around the company’s ability to morph its unrivaled ridesharing platform into a broader consumer engine.”
Thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers turned off their apps in a US-wide strike last week over pay and working conditions.
Strikes that took place highlighted a dilemma for rideshare firms, which have faced challenges from regulators and traditional taxi operators for using a business model relying on independent contractors.
Rideshare companies maintain that drivers are able to thrive and maintain work flexibility, and that their business model would not work if drivers were treated as wage-based employees.
“While we aim to provide an earnings opportunity comparable to that available in retail, wholesale, or restaurant services or other similar work, we continue to experience dissatisfaction with our platform from a significant number of drivers,” Uber said in a filing with securities regulators.
“In particular, as we aim to reduce driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect driver dissatisfaction will generally increase.” — AFP