After reports indicated Uber (UBER) might price shares in its upcoming initial public offering at the high end of its price range of $44 to $50 per share, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that the company now aims to price shares at $45 per share — the lower end of that range. The update in pricing puts Uber on a path to go public at a valuation of $82 billion.
If that price holds, it would set Uber up to be priced at a noticeably lower multiple than some of the other technology companies that recently completed IPOs, including its main competitor Lyft (LYFT).
With Uber’s 2018 revenue coming in just over $11 billion, the company could see the ratio of its total valuation to sales multiple come in around 7. For comparison, Lyft priced shares in its IPO at a multiple of about 11-times last year’s sales, but now trades near the multiple Uber is poised to meet.
Uber’s multiple would also be far lower than what investors are applying to Zoom (ZM) and Beyond Meat (BYND), two other technology companies that recently went public. Zoom now trades at a multiple of about 60-times the company’s last full-year of sales, whereas Beyond Meat has seen shares surge to trade around 45-times revenue.
Of course, as a much larger company than any of those comparisons, Uber is growing at a much slower rate. Uber’s annual revenue rose 47% year-over-year in 2018, which was about half the rate its main competitor Lyft was growing at before going public.
That fact, coupled with Lyft’s 30% decline since shares opened for trading last month, could be part of the reason why Uber is being met with a much humbler valuation, according to Deloitte partner Barrett Daniels, who advises companies through IPOs.
“I’ve always preached that growth is what really excites Wall Street, but this is no longer really the same growth story it once was,” he told Yahoo Finance’s live show YFi PM.
Daniels predicted that by pricing shares more conservatively than Lyft, Uber could be setting itself up for shares to post a larger first-day pop in trading Friday when shares are expected to open for trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The question of investor demand remains, however, considering where Uber was expected to price shares.
“Super dynamic IPOs like this are generally priced so you can see that there’s this ultra demand everybody is very excited about it and be able to bump it up as you go and the fact that we [Uber] priced in the middle I think I was a little surprised,” he said.
Considering Uber is going public at a time of increased market volatility as trade negotiations with China continue to rattle investors, Daniels said Uber should take pride in where it has indicated it will be able to price.
“It’s probably quite successful [if] they are able to price it in the midpoint of the range,” he said.