Obviously Uber must choose to go that route first, but I’m wondering what effect — if any — its history of regulatory tussles and a new DOJ investigation into greyballing will have on a potential IPO.
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Uber's biggest problem with IPO'ing is lack of profitability. It is losing billions by largely buying market share, which is only sustainable in the short term. It's grey legal status is quite well documented and would be factored into any stock pricing.
First, you must understand the State and Federal laws for companies that provide "transport for hire" which is what cab, black car services and limousine companies provide. Every State has laws which require companies to have a permit (expense), significant liability insurance (in Calif. the minimum is $750,000 (expense), workman's compensation insurance (expense) and the drivers have to submit to random drug and alcohol tests (expense).
Uber has chosen to ignore ALL of that and have individuals use their personal cars to drive passengers who PAY for the service. Further, personal insurance companies are now writing provisions into their policies that if you choose to drive for Uber, Lyft or the next "Transportation Network Company," and you have an accident you will not have insurance coverage.
So, this is first an illegal operation in every state and second a huge public safety issue. If you are picked up by an Uber drive that has just come from a party and was doing drugs (remember they don't get tested) and have an accident which caused you injury you have NO recourse and will have to pay for your own medical expenses.
I personally owned and operated a Limousine company in California. Had two cars and paid $15,000 per year per car for the liability insurance. Workman's comp insurance at the time was 30% so I paid 30% of the Drivers salary which was substantial. All this is to say I had a high overhead to operate and now we have companies operating illegally and legitimate companies are now being forced out of the market.
This is not fair that our government allows this to happen. As for going public, if Uber wants to do it I am sure they will figure out a way. I for one will not be an investor or user of their services.
Who better than yourself to answer that one, would you invest your cash in it?