Uber IPO: Stock starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange

Uber IPO: Stock starts trading on the New York Stock Exchange

Uber began trading on the New York Stock Exchange Friday at $42 per share, below its IPO price of $45. The stock was down about 1% in the afternoon.

Uber priced its shares Thursday night toward the low end of its target range of $44 to $50 per share. That gave Uber a valuation of $75.46 billion at its IPO on a non-diluted basis, still well below the $120 billion it was reportedly seeking when news first broke it was preparing to go public. Toward the beginning of its trading, Uber’s market cap was around $75 billion.

The stock began trading in the face of difficult market conditions Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 300 points after President Donald Trump said on Twitter “there is absolutely no need to rush” trade talks with China. The market rebounded in the afternoon after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said China trade talks were “constructive.”

Uber’s Chief Financial Officer Nelson Chai said “this was a tough day” on the market in an interview on CNBC after the stock began trading. Asked about whether executives considered delaying the IPO as a result of the conditions, Chai said, “I don’t think that we’re smart enough to try to judge the market … We weren’t optimizing to have the best opening price or the opening day. We’re really looking for how the stock continues to trade over time and that’s what we’re building for.”

Uber is now the second ride-hailing company to hit the U.S. public market, following Lyft’s debut in March. Both companies have been heavily scrutinized for continuing to post big losses, but many investors are also intrigued by the entrance of the new industry onto the public exchange. As Uber began its first day of trading, Lyft’s stock was down more than 3%.

Lyft’s poor performance on the public market has somewhat dampened expectations over Uber’s IPO, as Lyft’s stock has plummeted more than 20% from its IPO price. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin on “Squawk Box” Friday that Lyft’s performance “led us to be a bit more conservative.”

But analysts saw a promising path to profitability in Lyft’s first quarterly earnings report after the company showed strong growth in active ridership and revenue per active rider. Executives said on the earnings call Tuesday the ride-hailing market overall is beginning to become more rational, limiting the need for driver incentives.

Like Lyft, Khosrowshahi said 2019 should be the company’s peak year for losses. Uber has been comparing itself to Amazon in its pitches to investors, which also infamously was not profitable at its IPO. While some analysts are dubious of the comparison, they also recognize investors’ fear of missing out on the next big thing. In his CNBC interview, Khosrowshahi said he stands behind the comparison despite the differences between the two companies at their IPO.

“It’s a fair comparison at the wrong time,” Khosrowshahi said. “So a lot of private companies now are holding off much longer before they go public. We are much bigger, much more mature as a company as we go public, and if you do look at the growth rates, our audience is growing 33% on a year on year basis, transactions are growing 36%. To be able to grow transactions 36% on a $50 billion base is pretty incredible, and we hope to keep it going.”

Khosrowshahi will be personally incentivized to keep up the value of the stock. If Khosrowshahi can keep Uber’s valuation above $120 billion for 90 consecutive days once it goes public, Khosrowshahi will win net stock bonuses topping $100 million.

Even with shares priced toward the low end of its target range, Khosrowshahi is unconcerned with reaching those goals.

“I wasn’t expecting it any time short term,” he told CNBC. “I’m here to stay. I’m here to build a big company. That compensation term is not about a single day, it’s about what value you create over 10 years, and over 10 years, absolutely I expect to get there.”

One person who was missing from the dais at Uber’s debut was its co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Kalanick, who was ousted from the company after accusations that he helped foster a hostile and inappropriate environment at the company, will be nearby with his father at Uber’s start of trading on the floor of the NYSE.

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the value of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s net stock bonuses if he keeps Uber’s valuation above $120 billion for 90 consecutive days.

This content was originally published here.

Strike may mar Uber IPO | Concept News Central

Strike may mar Uber IPO | Concept News Central

FILE – In this March 15, 2017, file photo, a sign marks a pick-up point for the Uber car service at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Drivers for ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are planning to turn off their apps to protest what they say are declining wages at a time when both companies are raking in billions of dollars from investors. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

NEW YORK — Drivers for ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft are planning to turn off their apps to protest what they say are declining wages at a time when both companies are raking in billions of dollars from investors.

Organizers are planning demonstrations in 10 U.S. cities Wednesday, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, as well as some European locations like London.

They’re timing their protests in advance of Uber’s initial public stock offering, which is planned for Friday. Uber aims to raise $9 billion from investors and is expected to be valued at up to $91.5 billion.

It’s not the first time drivers for ride-hailing apps have staged protests. Strikes were planned in several cities ahead of Lyft’s IPO last month, although the disruption to riders appeared to be minimal. This time more cities are participating.

“Drivers built these billion dollar companies and it is just plain wrong that so many continue to be paid poverty wages while Silicon Valley investors get rich off their labor,” said Brendan Sexton, executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild, in a statement. “All drivers deserve fair pay.”

In New York, striking drivers are planning to shut down their services during morning rush hour from 7 a.m. until 9 a.m., while drivers in Los Angeles are planning a 24-hour strike and picket line at Los Angeles International Airport.

Lyft said its drivers’ hourly earnings have increased over the last two years, that 75% of its drivers work less than 10 hours per week to supplement existing jobs and that on average the company’s drivers earn over $20 an hour.

“We know that access to flexible, extra income makes a big difference for millions of people, and we’re constantly working to improve how we can best serve our driver community,” Lyft said.

In New York, striking drivers are planning to proceed in a caravan across the Brooklyn Bridge and then hold a rally outside Uber and Lyft offices in Queens.

Strikes are also planned in Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Stamford, Connecticut.

This content was originally published here.

New York’s Rideshare Organizers Clash Amid Unprecedented Uber Strike

New York’s Rideshare Organizers Clash Amid Unprecedented Uber Strike

Long Island City—Just days before Uber’s expected debut on the stock market at a conservative but still-astronomical $80 to $90 billion valuation, the anger among rideshare drivers boiled over into an international day of action.

In at least 20 cities around the world, Uber drivers with few employment protections and no real way to contact one another came together on Wednesday to demand fairer conditions. That action on this scale could be coordinated at all is, on its own, an astounding achievement. A grand expression of frustration can be cathartic in its own way, but at times the balkanized pockets of organizers appeared to be rowing in opposite directions—nowhere more starkly than in the company’s largest market: New York City.


Ask rideshare drivers anywhere, and they’ll likely name the same problems: low pay made lower through vehicle expenses and upkeep, deactivations without recourse, and a higher and higher share of their rides being gobbled up as commission fees. But ask about the best strategy to improve their working conditions, and the answers will probably be less consistent.

In three cities in Australia, a handful of drivers delivered a letter expressing “concern about the lack of rights and standards that apply to transport workers in the gig economy” to Uber Greenlight hubs. In Los Angeles, one of the best organized and most militant groups, Rideshare Drivers United, called a 24-hour strike for its estimated 4,200 members. Philadelphia Drivers United responsibly split the difference, opting to hold a rally but not call a strike, as many of its constituent members were “one missed day of work away from vehicle repossession or missed medications.” Unfocused, maybe, but not openly hostile towards one another.

New York, however, had the dubious honor of being the only city to host competing rallies between labor groups—the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) and the New York Taxi Drivers Alliance (NYTWA)—which took turns to protest in front of an Uber hub in Long Island City, Queens, rather than join together.

“As New York drivers we’re standing in solidarity with drivers all across the country,” Aaron Smith, the IDG’s director of organizing, told me—apparently referring to every local grassroots group except the NYTWA.

Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of NYTWA, believed the majority of her organization’s 10,000 members shut off their apps during their declared strike hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. today, and took credit for an alleged 2.2x driver surge meant to encourage to get drivers out on the road. Citing just a 500-car dip from last week’s numbers, Uber denied the strike’s efficacy, and in fact refused to attribute the change to labor activity. Whether the strike had a meaningful impact on Uber’s business this morning or not, at least three hashtags associated with the strike on Twitter were trending across the city. Little to none of that visibility can be chalked up to the IDG, which did not strike today.

“We’ll continue to make sure that driving is a career and it’s a path to the middle class and not a path to the poverty wages that these companies want you to live in,” Brendan Sexton, the IDG’s executive director, addressed a crowd of approximately 150 drivers clad in complementary union t-shirts. The IDG, formed almost three years ago to the day, are a divisive organization to say the least. Formed through an arrangement between the International Association of Machinists, drivers, and Uber itself, the IDG are the only union recognized by the ridesharing platform. But their recognition hinged on signing an agreement with a no-strike clause and refusal to criticize systemic problems on the app. It’s branded them among skeptics—like the NYTWA—as Uber lackeys.

“They are paid by Uber,” Desai told me, when asked why the rallies were not coordinated. “They are a sham company union which goes against every single principle that people like us believe in, because we’re supposed to be working for the interests of the workers. We’re not supposed to be taking money from the bosses.” “We’re built by drivers and we work for drivers,” Sexton shot back. “That other group they represent, I think, medallion owners, or yellow cabs or something,” he bristled, adding incorrectly that the NYTWA “don’t really do app-based drivers yet.” The NYTWA did indeed get its start representing cabbies; no rideshare companies existed when it was founded, in 1998.

Sexton did confirm however, that the IDG does still receive money from Uber. “Like every other union contract there are contributions from the employer. Most of our funding—over 75 percent—comes from grants, member contributions, donations, and contributions from the Machinists Union.” During Desai’s address to the media at 1 p.m. today, members of Sexton’s guild hung back with banners and whistles, sporadically interrupting speeches.

Of course, the stories from drivers in either organization are nearly identical. “After a while, learning the kind of expenses I accumulate I was like ‘Oh, I’m making almost nothing,’” IDG member Jacky Lin told me. “Gas I’ll spend like $1,000. Insurance I’ll spend like $300. Car payments, another couple hundred.” He estimates that, with those various deductions, he takes home a little over $1,000 per month. “Lucky for me I was living at home,” Lin said, “but if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I’d be able to survive.”


Holding two printed-out sheets before a gaggle of reporters at an earlier event in front of the iconic Charging Bull statue, Inder Parmar, a NYTWA member, claimed his earnings had shrunk from $37 an hour when he began driving for Uber to just over $9 an hour now. In reference to the rash of suicides that took the lives of seven for-hire drivers, he said, “if my kids and my family didn’t support me, I would be one of the dead drivers.”

The divide between the two labor groups is largely idealogical: a hardline approach versus one that’s open to meeting the boss halfway. When I asked Lin why he’d opted to join a group that wasn’t willing (or able) to strike, a nearby staffer interrupted, noting that “obviously, if you’re at a rally, you’re not working. So if you want to call it a strike, it really doesn’t make any kind of difference.” And yet what led the spark of protest to travel from Los Angeles to multiple continents arguably wasn’t “not working,” it was the threat of a strike, and all the weight that suggests.

“We know we got to them. That’s the triumph,” Desai told reporters gathered in Queens. “We got into their heads. We messed with them. We punched back, and we showed them that we’re not afraid.”

Both groups were adamant that today’s action was just the beginning, which even Uber itself seems keenly aware of. “As we aim to reduce Driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect Driver dissatisfaction will generally increase,” the company wrote in its S-1 filing, setting the stage for increasingly widespread outrage. But it’s also the beginning of some very difficult coalition-building for these various national and international groups to agree on and pursue unified demands—or risk losing their own momentum to conflict and confusion.

This content was originally published here.

Lyft plunges to an all-time low amid reports Uber is seeking a valuation of up to $100 billion (LYFT)

Lyft plunges to an all-time low amid reports Uber is seeking a valuation of up to $100 billion (LYFT)

  • Lyft shares have dropped 27% from where they opened when the company went public last week.
  • Watch Lyft trade live.

Lyft shares dropped as much as 7.3% on Wednesday after it was reported that the ride-hailing company’s larger rival, Uber, was seeking a valuation of $90 billion to $100 billion.

Uber plans to sell about $10 billion worth of stock when it officially files to go public on Thursday, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Uber’s new projected valuation, according to Reuters, is below prior estimates for $120 billion. In contrast, Lyft’s market cap on Tuesday was just under $20 billion, with the company having raised about $2.69 billion last month in its initial public offering.

Read more: Uber plans to sell about $10 billion worth of stock in its IPO, seeks $90 billion valuation

Lyft has traded in a volatile fashion since its debut, which isn’t uncommon for newly minted public companies.

The stock priced at $72 a share the evening before its IPO in late March, then officially opened at $87.24 a share, then dropped below its IPO price in its first full day of trading. It’s now down about 27% from its opening price and down 11% from where the stock initially priced.

Lyft analysts are concerned about the company’s uncertain path to profitability and a highly competitive ride-hailing space. Regulatory uncertainties may also pose a challenge, some analysts say, while others say the stock is overvalued.

“While we believe the ridesharing market will continue to grow and expect LYFT to be a prime competitor, in our view, current valuations reflect an overly optimistic view of consumer behavior in the US,” Michael Ward, an analyst at Seaport Global, said in a note to clients last week.

Now read more about Lyft on Markets Insider:

NOW WATCH: The founder and CIO of $12 billion Ariel Investments breaks down how his top-ranked flagship fund has crushed its peers over the past 10 years

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How to stay safe in ride-shares like Uber and Lyft | Komando.com

How to stay safe in ride-shares like Uber and Lyft | Komando.com

Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft have been around for many years now. As these services have grown, so have numerous concerns. There have been issues in the past year with  hidden cameras live-streaming customers, logging every location you’ve visited, failures of self-driving cars , and data breaches . But they also have benefits such as being a driver to make extra money and hailing a ride with a simple app request. As these ride-sharing companies have become conventional, some deadly incidents are beginning to surface with fake ride-sharing drivers. In this article, we’ll show you how to avoid a fake ride-sharing driver and stay safe. When fake Uber or Lyft drivers attack Attacks that turn innocent mix-ups into fearful situations have gotten more common in recent years. These bad actors can easily exploit vulnerabilities of the ride-sharing culture that many people trust to get home safely. Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old college student in South Carolina, was unfortunately stabbed to death after getting into what she thought was her Uber ride recently. Due to this heinous crime, it has brought national attention to the growing number of kidnappings, sexual assaults and robberies being committed against primarily young women by criminals posing as ride-share drivers. Now, ride-sharing companies are being forced to address safety concerns being led by legislative proposals and public efforts to reduce future attacks. These fraudulent drivers troll nightclubs and bars late at night to find people looking in the dark for their ride, according to law enforcement reports. They get the passengers’ attention with a wave and saying things like, “I’m your driver.” Some even go as far as to hang ride-share decals in their windows for added legitimacy. How to stay safe in ride-shares There have been several cases of people posing as drivers, but both Uber and Lyft offer passengers details such as the driver’s name, their photo and car type. Some Lyft drivers have an additional method, featuring a bright color-changing pill-shaped device, called an Amp. It’s made of multiple LED lights on your driver’s dashboard, which should match the color in your Lyft app. Here we’ll run down a list of various safety tips for passengers when using a ride-share service. Confirm the driver information Check the name of the driver, driver photo, make and model of the vehicle, license plate and match with the app Also, ask them who they are picking up to make sure it’s you Check the driver’s rating If you’re not comfortable with their rating, request another driver Share your trip details with friends or family  While en route, tap the “share status” in the app to share your driver’s information and location so they can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the app Avoid riding in the front seat If you’re riding alone, this allows you easy access to exits on either side of the vehicle Follow along in your own maps app This allows you to make sure the driver is following the designated route Travel in groups when possible There’s something to say for traveling in numbers for safety’s sake Trust your gut Trust your instincts when riding with Uber or Lyft and if you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately Plan ahead before you request a ride Make sure you know your route, how long it should take and any other information before you request a ride Review the safety features in the app so you know how to use them You should familiarize yourself with the app so you can readily know how to navigate it in an emergency Request your ride inside Avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with your phone in your hand, and wait indoors when possible until the app shows your driver has arrived Protect your personal information No need to share your phone number or any other contact information with your driver If a passenger and driver need to contact each other, the apps automatically anonymize both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy Give feedback on your trip Your feedback helps improve the experience for everyone There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking to ride-share, safety above everything else should be number one. Keeping informed of your ride and driver information can help in getting in the correct vehicle. As incidents continue to occur, we can expect that these ride-share services will create stricter guidelines for those looking for rides and those looking to give them as a service. If you forget something in an Uber, the good news is: you can get it back. But are you curious what people leave behind? Kim looked into it and shares some very strange things people left in their Uber ride. Don’t be a victim of expected Uber phishing scams Whenever there is a highly publicized data breach like the one at Uber, we need to be on the lookout for separate attacks. That’s because criminals will piggyback on the news to create more scams. Tap or click for more info . Please share this information with everyone. Just click on any of the social media buttons below. Tips/Tricks/Troubleshooting Car Crime fake uber drive Law Lyft ride share rider safety Safety traveling Uber

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Lyft Stock Dips On News Of Uber $100B Valuation | PYMNTS.com

Lyft Stock Dips On News Of Uber $100B Valuation | PYMNTS.com

Shares in the ride-hailing company Lyft dropped 7.3 percent on the news that rival Uber was looking for a valuation of between $90 billion and $100 billion ahead of its initial public offering (IPO), according to reports . When it officially goes public on Thursday (April 11), Uber reportedly plans to sell $10 billion in stock. Uber was previously looking for a valuation of $120 billion. Lyft, however, has a market cap of just below $20 billion. The company raised $2.69 billion when it went public last month. Lyft stock has moved a lot since the company’s IPO. It was priced at $72 a share just before the company went public, then it opened at $87.23, then dropped below its set IPO price. It’s down 27 percent from opening day and 11 percent from where it started. Some analysts say it’s because the stock is overvalued, or because of the crowded ridesharing space there’s no certainty the company will be profitable. There’s also the potential regulatory issues Lyft might face. Michael Ward, an analyst at Seaport Global, said as much in a note to his clients, saying,  “While we believe the ridesharing market will continue to grow and expect LYFT to be a prime competitor, in our view, current valuations reflect an overly optimistic view of consumer behavior in the U.S.” On April 8 , CNBC reported that   Lyft was threatening to sue Morgan Stanley over allegations it supported short selling for investors subject to lock-up agreements. Lyft reportedly sent a letter to Morgan Stanley on April 2 asking the firm about its alleged role in selling a short product to pre-IPO investors. Lyft wants Morgan Stanley to go on record saying it did not engage in this type of activity, or if it did, that it practiced proper due diligence in marketing it. In addition, the company has asked that if Morgan Stanley did sell or market this product, that it stop immediately, as well as provide a list of any involved shareholders. Lyft added that it was prepared to take legal action against Morgan Stanley if necessary and asked that the firm respond to the allegations by the end of the day on April 2. Two sources, however, said Morgan Stanley has yet to formally respond to Lyft’s requests. A Morgan Stanley spokesperson did give a statement to CNBC, saying that the firm “did not market or execute, directly or indirectly, a sale, short sale, hedge, swap or transfer of risk or value associated with Lyft stock for any Lyft shareholder identified by the company or otherwise known to us to be the subject of a Lyft lock-up agreement.” Get our hottest stories delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the PYMNTS.com Newsletter to get updates on top stories and viral hits.

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Why Uber ‘Depends Heavily’ on Insurance

Why Uber ‘Depends Heavily’ on Insurance

Uber Technologies Inc., which is on its way to an initial public offering that it hopes will raise $10 billion, might not be in the position it is in without insurance. “Our business depends heavily on insurance coverage for drivers and on other types of insurance for additional risks related to our business,” the ridesharing pioneer notes in its recent filing. Uber faces many potential liabilities, some that come with the field of transportation and others that come with forging a new industry. There are traffic accidents and injuries, assaults on passengers, even e-scooters left on sidewalks. Like every business, Uber faces cyber risks. It also faces challenges to how it classifies and treats its independent contractor drivers. Then there the risks to its brand and reputation from all of the negative publicity stemming from what it calls its “workplace culture and forward-leaning approach” to operations, compliance and personnel under previous management. Given that risks abound, it’s no surprise that Uber depends and spends heavily on insurance. “If insurance carriers change the terms of such insurance in a manner not favorable to drivers or to us, if we are required to purchase additional insurance for other aspects of our business, or if we fail to comply with regulations governing insurance coverage, our business could be harmed,” the firm noted. At the end of last year, Uber had insurance reserves of close to $3 billion set aside, according to the regulatory filings made in preparation for its planned IPO. That was a big jump from 2017, when it had $2 billion in reserves. The 2017 reserve figure was itself a similar jump over 2016. (In its filings, Uber disclosed that it had a $3 billion operating loss last year on revenue of $11.3 billion. Over the past three years, its operating losses have topped $10 billion. The company achieved net income of $997 million for 2018, but that came primarily as a result of selling some foreign assets and a boost in the stock it owns in China’s ridesharing company. The company said it expects its operating costs to increase “significantly in the future” and it “may not achieve profitability.”) Insurance Needs Uber’s insurance reserves are just estimates of its potential losses and related expenses. The company acknowledges that its estimates are subject to “inherent variability” due in part to its “limited historical experience” as a startup in a new industry. That can mean there are risks that traditional insurers are not yet ready to assume. For some of their insurance needs, Uber and its drivers rely on traditional insurers. Insurance for Uber’s ridesharing operations include third-party automobile liability, automobile comprehensive and collision, physical damage, and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Allstate provides Uber with commercial auto insurance in some states, while Travelers provides Uber with some auto claim services. Uber has partnered with Allstate, Farmers, James River Insurance, Progressive and other carriers to develop coverage for its drivers that supplements their personal auto policies that do not cover commercial use. Various other insurers including Geico, Slice, State Farm, American Family, Liberty Mutual, Mapfre, Mercury, Erie, Travelers and MetLife have come out with their own insurance policies for drivers. In addition to insurance related to its ridesharing products, Uber carries other automobile insurance coverage for owned vehicles and employee activity, as well as insurance coverage for non-automotive corporate risks including general liability, workers’ compensation, property, cyber liability, and director and officers’ liability. Traditional insurers aren’t handling everything. Uber also has a captive insurance subsidiary to cover for certain risks including auto liability, uninsured and underinsured motorist, auto physical damage, general liability and workers’ compensation. Its Hawaiian captive company, called Aleka Insurance Inc., is managed by Aon. Its smaller rival Lyft also has a Hawaii captive insurer, Pacific Valley Insurance Co. As heavily dependent upon insurance as Uber is, the company has said it is not interested in entering the insurance business. Rather, the global transportation firm is content to focus on being an “intelligent purchaser” of insurance, continuing to work with insurance carriers and brokers. “No, to be honest, we’re trying to get out of the insurance business,” Curtis Scott, global head of insurance for Uber, said at the Insuretech Connect Conference (ITC) last October. Citing reports of other tech firms including Amazon showing an interest in insurance, he said Uber is not among them. “I can tell you that Uber doesn’t have a desire to. We are good at being a tech company that’s in logistics and we want to do that. That’s what we’re strong at,” he said. “Insurance companies are good at being insurance companies and that’s hard to do,” he added. Going forward, insurance is bound to remain an important focus for Uber. There are the liabilities that will arise as it continues expanding into freight handling (Uber Freight), fast food delivery (Uber Eats), e-scooters rentals (Jump) and autonomous vehicles (Advanced Technologies Group). In addition, Uber says service providers and business customers of Uber Freight and Uber for Business may require higher limits of coverage as a condition for contracting with them. Uber also recognizes that its insurance will be affected if lawmakers change insurance requirements for ridesharing or if municipalities mandate certain levels of insurance for dockless e-bikes and e-scooters. Big Worry While Uber worries about insurance requirements, that’s not its biggest concern. Its biggest worry is if its drivers have to be classified as employees instead of independent contractors. The status of its drivers as independent contractors continues to be challenged in courts in the U.S. and abroad. The firm notes in its regulatory filing that it is involved in “numerous legal proceedings globally, including putative class and collective class action lawsuits, demands for arbitration, charges and claims before administrative agencies, and investigations or audits by labor, social security, and tax authorities that claim that drivers should be treated as our employees (or as workers or quasi-employees where those statuses exist), rather than as independent contractors.” Uber holds to its belief that its 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.” However, it recognizes it may not win this argument everywhere. For example, in March, Uber agreed to pay $20 million to settle California and Massachusetts lawsuits challenging the company’s classification of drivers as independent contractors, and not employees. The settlement is subject to a final approval hearing in July. According to Uber, more than 60,000 of its drivers have filed or expressed an intention to file arbitration demands against it asserting similar claims. The company is closely watching various court cases and legislative proposals here and abroad that could establish new rules for determining employee or independent contractor status. Uber says that if it is required to reclassify its drivers, not only would it incur considerable additional costs but any such reclassification would require it to “fundamentally change” its business model, and would have an “adverse effect” on its “business and financial condition.”

This content was originally published here.

Uber Eyes IPO and Spies an Autonomous Future

Uber Eyes IPO and Spies an Autonomous Future


Uber filed its S-1 last week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, setting the stage for its initial public offering next month. This comes less than one month after competitor Lyft’s debut on the public market. Uber is listing under the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “UBER,” but has yet to disclose the anticipated initial public offering price. Uber could be valued at up to $120 billion when it lists – according to the banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, surpassing Facebook ($104 billion in 2012) and Google ($23 billion in 2004).

Uber believes that autonomous vehicles will be an important part of its offerings over the long term, namely that AVs can increase safety and making rides more efficient and lower prices for customers.

However, the transportation company struck a more conservative tone in the prospectus on how and when autonomous vehicles will be deployed. Though Uber is convinced that self-driving cars are the future of its business it warns investors, they could be a total bust for the company.

Uber noted that it’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) — the group heading up development of its driverless solutions — has grown from a team of 40 Pittsburgh-based researchers in 2015 to a 1,000-person workforce spread across offices in San Francisco and elsewhere. It incurred $457 million of research and development expenses in 2018, a year after Uber opened an ATG unit in Toronto and said it would invest more than $150 million to grow its self-driving car and AI operations there. Uber also revealed that it’s collected data from “millions” of autonomous vehicle testing miles to date and completed “tens of thousands” of passenger trips with a fleet of 250 vehicles. ATG has built more than 250 self-driving vehicles and has three partnerships — Volvo, Toyota and Daimler  — that illustrates the company’s multi-tiered strategy to AVs.

Uber contends it is well-suited to balance that potentially awkward in-between phase when both human drivers and autonomous vehicles will co-exist on its platform.

Talking about a long period of “hybrid autonomy” and Uber said it will continue to rely on human drivers for its core business for the foreseeable future. Saying that even when autonomous vehicle taxis are deployed, it will still need human drivers for situations that ‘involve substantial traffic, complex routes, or unusual weather conditions’ the company wrote in the S-1 that Human drivers will also be needed during concerts, sporting events and other high-demand events that will “likely exceeds the capacity of a highly utilized, fully autonomous vehicle fleet,”.

“Drivers are therefore a critical and differentiating advantage for us and will continue to be our valued partners for the long-term,” Uber further wrote.

Uber has a mixed track record when it comes to self-driving car research, to put it mildly. It restarted tests of its driverless cars in Pittsburgh last December, eight months after one of its prototype Volvo SUVs struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona, and began manual tests in San Francisco and Toronto.

This summer, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that Uber engineers had disabled the automatic emergency braking system in the Volvo XC90 involved in the accident. Following the crash, Uber halted self-driving tests across the country and laid off 100 of its autonomous vehicle operators.

In a voluntary safety assessment filed with the NTSB, Uber said that with newly established systems engineering testing team it’s now better positioned “to reason over many possible outcomes to ultimately come to a safe response,” and that it intends to form a self-driving safety advisory board of outside experts. It also said that it spent months testing its self-driving technology on a closed track and completed a lengthy internal review, and that it hired an advisor — former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Christopher Hart — to assess its safety culture.

The bumps in the road haven’t deterred investors. Earlier this year, Reuters reported that group led by SoftBank and Toyota is in talks to invest $1 billion or more into Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit, which would value the unit at $5 billion to $10 billion. It might have competition in spades — Waymo, Cruise Automation, Tesla, Apple, Zoox, Aptiv, May Mobility, Pronto.ai, Aurora, and Nuro, to name a few — but in a global market that’s forecast to hit revenue of $173.15 billion by 2023, there’s plenty of cash to go around.

Uber is convinced that self-driving cars are the future of its business.

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Student’s slaying forces Uber, Lyft  to focus on safety measures

Student’s slaying forces Uber, Lyft to focus on safety measures

South Carolina student Samantha Josephson was confirmed dead after getting into a car she mistook for her Uber. Wochit, USA TODAY
Whenever Rachel Orden calls for an Uber, the 20-year-old Michigan State University sophomore immediately walks to the back of the vehicle to check the license plate number, then opens the door and waits for the driver to say her name before getting in.
Even then, she devises a backup plan in case she feels uncomfortable.
“How could I get out? Could I unlock the door? Who do I have on speed dial? Could I jump out safely if I needed to? All that goes through my mind,” said Orden, of Naples, Florida, who uses the ride-hailing service about once a week, usually when going out at night. She said the March 29 slaying of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson , who mistakenly got into a vehicle she thought was her Uber ride, has made her even more cautious.
This undated photo provided by the Columbia Police Department shows Samantha Josephson, a University of South Carolina student who was reported missing after last being seen Friday, March 29, 2019. The university on Saturday confirmed the death of the student.   (Photo: AP)
It also has prompted law enforcement agencies and ride-hailing companies to intensify efforts to warn passengers against getting in without checking to ensure both the vehicle and driver are legitimate. Although no official tallies exist, there have been several high-profile cases involving would-be robbers and assailants posing as ride-hailing drivers — often at bars. Police in South Carolina have not said if that was what the driver did in Josephson’s case.
“You do have individuals who are predatory and roving around looking for potential victims,” said Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, adding that fraudulent drivers are drawn to bars because people might be drunk and not paying attention.
A Chicago-area man was charged with raping four women he picked up at bars after posing as an Uber driver in 2017. He picked up a fifth woman in a taxi, authorities said. Musaab Afundi has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and his case is ongoing, CBS2 Chicago reported.
In South Carolina, Josephson, 21, had ordered an Uber around 1:30 a.m. after reportedly becoming separated from friends following an evening out at Columbia bars. She mistakenly got into a car driven by 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, according to authorities, who allege he used the childproof locks in his car to imprison Josephson before killing her and dumping her body about 65 miles (105 kilometers) from Columbia. Her funeral was held Saturday in New Jersey, where she grew up.
Rowland is charged with kidnapping and murder.
Family and friends gathered Tuesday evening in Robbinsville, NJ to mourn the death of Samantha Josephson who was killed when she got into the wrong car, thinking it was her Uber ride. Peter Ackerman, Asbury Park Press
Then on Wednesday, a 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of raping a woman who got into his car after leaving a Seattle bar on Dec. 16. The King County Sheriff’s Office said the man led her to believe he was her driver before pulling the car over and raping her. A judge found probable cause to hold the man on investigation of third-degree rape.
And a man from Stamford, Connecticut, was charged last month with raping and kidnapping two women whom he’d picked up at bars in December, the Greenwich Time reported.
“There is no more dangerous place to be than in a locked car traveling with a stranger,” said Bryant Greening, a Chicago attorney who specializes in representing ride-hailing drivers and passengers. “You have to be aware of your surroundings and think how you would react if the situation turns sour … you have to listen to your instincts.”
It’s not just women who are at risk from fake ride-hailing drivers, he said. Men also have been robbed after getting into the wrong car.
“There is no discrimination by predators,” he said.
Greening urged Uber and Lyft to do more to educate customers and to come up with technological solutions. Also, in the wake of Josephson’s death, a bill has been introduced in the South Carolina legislature to require Uber and Lyft drivers to have illuminated signs.
Uber said in a written statement that in coming weeks it will launch a social media campaign, buy ads in college newspapers and begin sending push notifications during pickup to remind passengers about safety steps. It also said it has worked since 2017 with law enforcement and colleges to “educate the public about how to avoid fake rideshare drivers,” including by checking a driver’s photo and vehicle description against what was sent when a trip is requested.
Lyft said it also provides photos of the driver and information about the vehicle, and some Lyft vehicles have a display on dashboards that changes color to match the passengers’ app to help them identify their ride. “We … are always exploring new, innovative ways to improve the experience for all users, and most importantly, to keep our community safe,” the company said.
Orden, the Michigan State University student, said the recent assaults have made her more nervous even though she’s already cautious.
“But I feel like in a way that’s a good thing,” she said. “Now I will take even more precautions.”
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Mourners arrive at Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for Samantha Josephson. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
Seth Josephson pauses as he read a statement from Samantha Josephson’s family outside Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for his cousin. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
Seth Josephson reads a statement from Samantha Josephson’s family outside Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for his cousin. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
Mourners arrive at Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for Samantha Josephson. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
Samantha Josephson’s parents Seymour and Marci arrive at the Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for their daughter. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
Samantha Josephson’s parents Seymour and Marci arrive at the Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for their daughter. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
A public works employee is shown outside the Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for Samantha Josephson. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
A casket is wheeled into the Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for Samantha Josephson. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
A casket is wheeled into the Congregation Beth Chaim in Princeton Junction, NJ, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, where funeral services are scheduled for Samantha Josephson. Josephson, 21, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was killed after she got into a car she thought was her Uber. Thomas P. Costello
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Lyft shares hit new low as Uber IPO chatter revs up – Reuters

Lyft shares hit new low as Uber IPO chatter revs up – Reuters


FILE PHOTO: Lyft supporters gather for the Lyft IPO as the company lists its shares on the Nasdaq in the first-ever ride-hailing initial public offering, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo (Reuters) – Shares of recently listed Lyft Inc fell to a fresh low and closed the day down almost 11 percent on Wednesday on news that rival Uber Technologies Inc was close to filing its own initial public offering. In ride-hailing company Lyft’s ninth day of trading its shares clocked their lowest closing price since going public on March 29. And the $60.12 close was 16.5 percent below Lyft’s final IPO price of $72 and even under the low end of its initial price target range of $62 to $68. Reuters reported late Tuesday that rival Uber would seek to sell around $10 billion worth of stock in an IPO, and file the offering with regulators as soon as Thursday. Uber declined to comment for the report which cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. “It’s not a coincidence that the day before Uber was expected to make a filing that investors are immediately contrasting it to Lyft and Lyft looks less attractive,” said Matt Moscardi, analyst at MSCI in Boston. For example, heavy betting by short sellers against Lyft may be leaving investors anxious about Lyft’s valuation, Moscardi said. It could also work in Uber’s favor that it is now expected to seek a valuation of $90 billion to $100 billion, below the $120 billion investment bankers previously told the company it could be worth, according to the Reuters report. Uber may also have better name recognition, said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners in Pittsburgh. “It could be that people are anticipating the Uber IPO. When you go somewhere do you Lyft? Uber has become a verb.” After the close of trading on Wednesday, Lyft announced that it would release financial results for its first fiscal quarter ended March 31 after the market closes on May 7. Reporting By Sinéad Carew; Editing by Richard Chang

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