Ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies Inc. will go public in 2019. According to a CNBC report, the company passed a resolution to this effect at its board meeting to discuss investment from Japan-based venture capital firm Softbank Group Corp. (SFTBF). At an all-hands meeting earlier this month, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had indicated that the company would go public within the next 18 to 36 months. The San Francisco-based startup is valued at $69 billion in the private markets and has raised over $13 billion in funding.
Uber has already taken steps this year to prepare for an IPO. For starters, it has cut back on profligate spending to expand its operations worldwide. For example, it sold its loss-making business in China to market leader Didi Chuxing. As a result, Uber has pared its losses. During the first quarter of this year, the company reported $3.4 billion in revenue and $708 million in losses. The latter figure was a 28.5% decline from previous quarter's figures. A spokesman for the company said that the loss figure "puts us on a good trajectory towards profitability." (See also: The Story of Uber.)
Uber is also taking corrective steps to improve its public image. A blitz of publicity has generally accompanied Uber's entry into new markets. That publicity was mostly positive earlier, but the tide turned this year as press reports highlighted the negative aspects of unchecked growth on the company's internal culture. Manifestations included a sexist company culture and leadership attitude problems that resulted in an exodus of senior executives from the company. That led to the ousting of CEO and founder Travis Kalanick and an internal probe headed by Uber board member Arianna Huffington. Separately, cities and countries have also begun cracking down on the company's operations. (See also: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Resigns.)
News of Uber's IPO plan comes as rival Lyft is reported to have taken the first step toward a similar move by hiring a financial services firm as an advisor. (See also: Alphabet Considering $1B Investment in Lyft.)