Uber’s hopes of a surge in the price of its shares have fallen flat, as investors gave the taxi-hailing app’s eagerly anticipated stock market float a frosty reception by sending the shares below their launch price.
Good luck to those Uber workers protesting about wages and working conditions. They picked their moment to coincide with this week’s IPO in New York, in which the company is set to be priced at $90bn (£70bn) or thereabouts, and they chose well. You do not have to be a bleeding heart liberal to think something obscene is happening when Uber drivers tell tales of sleeping in their cars to make ends meet while the founder, Travis Kalanick, has his shareholding valued at roughly $7bn.
Uber drivers have gone on strike in the UK, US and other countries including Brazil and Australia to demand better pay and conditions ahead of the ride-hailing app’s stock market debut.
Thousands protested against what one UK trade union labelled “poverty pay” ahead of Friday’s flotation, which will crystalise multi-million and multi-billion dollar fortunes for early investors, including the Uber founder, Travis Kalanick, and the Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos. Uber hopes to raise $9bn (£6.9bn) in new funds and is expected to be valued at up to $91.5bn when the valuation of the shares is announced on Thursday.
Uber’s self-driving car unit has been valued at $7.3bn (£5.6bn), after receiving $1bn of investment by a consortium including Toyota and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
The app-based ride-hailing services Uber and Cabify are to suspend their operations in Barcelona from Friday after the Catalan government announced new rules requiring vehicles to be booked with at least 15 minutes’ notice.