Uber hits the stock market in £63bn float: Taxi hailing firm falls flat on its trading debut despite being most anticipated listing of the year
Uber shares stalled last night as it made its £63billion stock market debut.
The US taxi app company had priced its shares at $ 45 each for the float, but as trading began they tumbled to $ 42.
The tech group was up against a backdrop of rising trade tensions between the US and China and a poor performance from its smaller rival Lyft.
Since its float in March, Lyft’s shares have plunged by more than 20 per cent.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, another early investor, was thought to have an Uber stake worth £15m
Despite Uber’s initial drop, its debut on the New York Stock Exchange – trading with the ticker ‘UBER’ – still marked a major milestone after years of turmoil at the company.
The firm’s smartphone app, which lets users hail taxis for low prices, has changed the way millions of people around the world travel.
It has also expanded into carpooling, food delivery, freight, electric bikes and scooters, self-driving cars and even flying taxis.
Its arrival on the stock market has been the most eagerly anticipated tech float since Facebook went public in 2012, and was set to be a major pay-day for early investors, including celebrities rumoured to include Beyonce, Jay-Z and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former boss and co-founder, had a stake worth £4.1billion at its debut while disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, another early investor, was thought to have a stake worth £15million.
As the stock exchange’s opening bell rang, Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi and other senior staff stood on a balcony above the trading floor clapping and cheering.
Austin Geidt, who started as an intern at Uber in its early days, was given the honour of ringing the bell.
Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi, left, and the firm’s head of strategy for the business’s advanced technologies group Austin Geidt, right, at the Stock Exchange
She is head of strategy for the business’s advanced technologies group, the arm that is developing driverless vehicles.
Ahead of trading, Khosrowshahi had sought to play down any potential drop and stressed the company’s long-term potential.
The 49-year-old, who was brought in from Expedia in 2017 to repair Uber’s battered reputation, has promised investors a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity.
He stands to make more than £77million from performance-linked bonuses if Uber reaches a £92billion market valuation and sustains it for at least 90 days.
Yesterday Khosrowshahi said: ‘Today is only one day. I want this day to go great, but it’s about what we build in the next three to five years.’
Also present were Kalanick and fellow Uber founder Garrett Camp, but the pair were not invited to the podium by Khosrowshahi for the bell ringing.
Kalanick stepped down as chief executive in 2017 after presiding over a series of scandals that left the company reeling, including revelations about unsavoury behaviour, complaints about rampant internal sexual harassment, claims that it stole self-driving car technology from a rival and a cover-up of a computer break-in that saw personal information about its passengers stolen.
Uber also had a difficult relationship with drivers who claimed they worked long hours but were not paid enough.
Khosrowshahi was parachuted in months after Kalanick’s departure to clean up the mess – a goal that analysts say he has achieved to a certain extent.
Despite warning that the company may never make a profit in its float prospectus, Khosrowshahi said that he expected 2019 to be Uber’s peak year for losses.
He added: ‘I’m here to build a big company.’