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Uber files S-1 report, bringing its financials to light ahead of IPO

Alyssa Clementi

On Thursday, ride-hailing giant Uber released its S-1 report, the financial documents a company must release before going public. The long-awaited documents give potential investors a look inside the company’s financial state before its highly anticipated IPO, which is expected later this month.

Lyft, Uber’s direct competitor, went public last month, and since, its stock has dropped more than 20 per cent. Unlike Lyft, which was listed on the Nasdaq, Uber will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, under the ticker “UBER”. For the IPO, the company has enlisted the help of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, and Allen & Company.

"Our continued success will come from stellar execution and the strength of the platform we have worked so hard to build," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a letter in the filing. "Our network spans tens of millions of consumers and partners and represents one of the world's largest platforms for independent work."

Although Uber has not announced its official price range per share, the company has already raised almost $20bn in investment rounds, totaling Uber’s valuation at almost $120bn. Included in the S-1 was Uber’s net income for 2018, which increased to $997m, a major jump in income from its 2017 net loss of over $4m.

The company is also in the midst of lawsuits surrounding working conditions for Uber drivers, who are considered contractors and not employees. Therefore, Uber drivers are not entitled to benefits such as insurance, overtime, and social security. The S-1 stated that if Uber considered its drivers as employees, it would be a huge blow to the business.

"We believe that Drivers are independent contractors because, among other things, they can choose whether, when, and where to provide services on our platform, are free to provide services on our competitors' platforms, and provide a vehicle to perform services on our platform," the S-1 said.

It looks like Uber will have to pay out about $20m in settlements to drivers in California and Massachusetts, after they took the company to court for labor and tax violations. That’s a small amount to pay for Uber, which has reportedly made billions from exiting out of China, Russia and Southeast Asia alone.

According to the S-1, Uber has collected $12.5bn from exit packages, in agreement to leave areas where the company has direct competition from similar businesses including China’s Didi Chuxing, Southeast Asia’s Grab, and Russia’s Yandex. Ironically, Uber’s agreement with its competitors does not ban the company from ever re-entering the markets, if it so chooses.