Uber CEO announces timing for IPO

Let the countdown begin: Uber will go public in 2019, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi revealed Nov. 9 at a conference.

Khosrowshahi, who in August took over leadership of the scandal-plagued ride-hailing giant after Travis Kalanick resigned in June, had said soon after taking the reins that the IPO would happen during the following 18 to 36 months. Kalanick remains on the company’s board.

At the New York Times “Dealbook” conference in New York City, Khosrowshahi specified that the IPO would take place in 2019.

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“We have all of the disadvantages of being a public company, as far as the spotlight on us, without any of the advantages,” Khosrowshahi said. “Travis [Kalanick] and the whole board now agree we should just go public. The numbers support it.

“If you set up the company in the right way and you are honest and plainspoken to your investors about being a long-term player, about sacrificing short-term quarterly results for long-term gain, you will find that right set of shareholders who will support you.”

Uber is in the middle of negotiations with SoftBank for a multi-billion-dollar investment that would give the Japanese tech titan a 14 percent to 20 percent stake in Uber, which is valued at nearly $70 billion.

Khosrowshahi said SoftBank didn’t have “any particular interest” in an IPO.

“They are the ultimate long-term investor,” he said.

Uber’s board ousted Kalanick after the firm was engulfed by a series of controversies allegedly stemming from a reckless, misogynist company culture that led to sexual harassment, bullying and secret technology for evading authorities’ oversight.

Former Uber engineer Susan Fowler, whose allegations about sexual harassment at the company helped bring down Kalanick, has a book deal for a memior, publisher Viking announced Nov. 9.

“Fowler will expose the systemic flaws rampant in the startup culture through her shocking and galvanizing personal story of working as a junior engineer at the most valuable startup in the history of Silicon Valley, and the previously unreported details of what happened after she went public with the harassment and discrimination she faced there,” Viking said.

“Her bottom-up view of what it’s really like to be a female, entry-level employee inside this major driver of the American economy will offer crucial insight into how all women — not just those at the top — can navigate challenging work environments.”

 

Photo: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in 2012 (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

 

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