Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says there's a chance the company may not IPO in 2019 after all

GettyUber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
  • Uber is in no rush to go public this year, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
  • Khosrowshahi told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Tuesday that he and investors would be “disappointed” if there was no IPO but that “the company would be just fine.”
  • The comments appear to be a softening of Khosrowshahi’s position from last year, when he consistently said Uber was “on track” for a 2019 initial public offering.

Uber may not go public this year after all, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has told The Wall Street Journal.

In an interview published Tuesday, Khosrowshahi said the company was in no rush to go public and may choose to bide its time and ride out rough market conditions.

“We’ll do it when we’re ready, and, hopefully, the markets will be in a good state,” he said, adding that the ride-hailing firm had “a strong balance sheet so we don’t need to go public this year.”

“It’s a desire,” he continued, but “if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen.”

“I’d be disappointed and I think our shareholders would be disappointed but the company would be just fine,” he said.

The comments appear to be a softening of Khosrowshahi’s position from last year, when he consistently said Uber was “on track” for a 2019 initial public offering. He did, however, add the caveat of “market conditions permitting” during an interview with Reuters in September.

Read more: Facebook’s disastrous run will only worsen in 2019, and advertisers may be turned off by its ‘toxicity’

Since that interview, tech stocks have taken a hammering, led by companies including Apple and Facebook. Apple has lost about $US450 billion from its valuation since it hit a record high of $US1.12 trillion in October, and last week it issued its first sales warning in nearly 17 years.

But Uber’s youth means it’s not subject to the same market forces as more established players, Khosrowshahi said. “I view us as a company that’s still very, very young and has a long way to go and therefore hopefully won’t be as subject to cycles the way, let’s say, Apple or Samsung is,” he told The Journal.

Khosrowshahi added that Uber’s earnings remained healthy despite market gloom, with revenue up.

Uber could be valued at a massive $US120 billion if it has an IPO this year, according to proposals put forward to the company from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The valuations are 66% higher than Uber’s most recent valuation, which pegged the company at $US72 billion after Toyota invested $US500 million into the ride-hailing firm.

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