Goldman Sachs says Uber's business model is one of its biggest risks

  • Uber analysts at Goldman Sachs are bullish on the ride-hailing company.
  • But they think its business model is a key risk in and of itself.
  • Watch Uber trade live.

Uber is facing an existential threat: Uber.

That’s what Goldman Sachs analysts said in a report out that Tuesday that initiated coverage of the ride-hailing behemoth and its much-smaller and newly public rival, Lyft. The research came as the quiet period following Uber’s initial public offering ended.

According to the bank, one of the key risks to Uber as an investment is its “business model,” as some markets don’t allow ride-hailing.

The regulation of ride-hailing companies in different markets around the world is a major concern, Goldman Sachs said. Japan, South Korea, Germany, Argentina, Spain, and Italy still do not allow Uber to operate its traditional rides business, the firm noted. Labour costs and how Uber can ultimately reach profitability are other concerns, too.

“Uber’s business could be negatively impacted should any regulatory authority take issue with its operating model, consumer protections, and/or autonomous vehicle development/deployment,” the analysts led by Heath Terry wrote.

Despite what the firm sees as a pretty fundamental risk, Terry and his colleagues are bullish nonetheless. Along with the majority of their Wall Street peers, they slapped a “buy” recommendation on the stock and a $US56 price target – implying a 32% rally from current levels.

Tuesday’s report comes after Uber last week disclosed its net losses in the first quarter totaled $US1.01 billion. Lyft – which Goldman Sachs initiated with a “neutral” rating – is facing many of the same challenges, Goldman says.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were counted among Uber’s lead bookrunners for its disastrous initial public offering. The stock is trading just below the $US45 where it priced last month.

Now read more Uber coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Uber tanked 11% after logging the biggest first-day dollar loss in US IPO history

Uber says the IRS is examining its past tax returns

Uber and Lyft drivers reveal the wildest things they have seen while driving passengers

Uber shares.Markets InsiderUber shares.

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