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Uber leak shows past underhanded practices, stock declines

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Yahoo Finance anchors break down new reports over Uber's unsavory practices in the past and what that means for the stock today.

Video Transcript


BRIAN SOZZI: We're just a few minutes away from the opening bell on Wall Street, but first, let's take a look at shares of Uber, which are under pressure this morning. The ride sharing company's past underhanded practices, including using violence at protests as leverage and remotely wiping data before police raids, exposed in a series of reports after a trove of documents was leaked to the Guardian.

Julie, I think you summed it nicely, summed up nicely in our morning meeting. We kind of knew this already. You watch-- you've been following-- you've followed Uber for the past seven or eight years. You go back to what Travis Kalanick did or didn't do when he was leading the company. This is primarily from his time, and he's no longer with the company. And you've seen a lot of exits internally at Uber under new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

I think if you are an investor in Uber, you should be more concerned about COVID cases picking up across this country and what that might mean to the company's bottom line this year then this news. Uber shares down 30% in the past three months alone, I would argue, because of those COVID cases.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, and also just because of demand for its service right now if people are going out less, whether they're sick or not, whether they want to go out, whether they want to pay the prices to ride in an Uber. All of that is an issue now.

The company came out with a statement and talked about basically the point that we're talking about, that there has been a lot of reporting on Uber's, what it calls mistakes prior to 2017, and that now the company has seen most of its staff turnover since Khosrowshahi became the CEO in 2017. So this is certainly seems to be perhaps more detailed than some of the allegations of wrongdoing against the company in the past, but nothing I've seen here talks about any of the current practices of Uber.

BRAD SMITH: Yeah, and when it comes back to how Uber is kind of navigating this current period of time, it's still a time period where we're going to be looking for more corporate travel to actually come back en masse. And for Uber, they're very much reliant as a part of their broader trips and gross bookings for corporate travel to still rely on many of those services.

However, what's corporate travel doing when they are going somewhere right now? They're getting more of the approvals to be able to rent a car and have their own personal vehicle, instead of just Ubering around all over the place or for some of those subsidized accounts that would have been there. So that's significant on the booking side.

But then it comes down to the rest of this business. So on the Eats business, how are they continuing to bring more restaurants online and that capacity? And even there, are you seeing some of that revenue opportunity dry up for people who are looking for that in-person experience and going back to restaurants right now, too?

BRIAN SOZZI: Yeah, I don't know about you guys, but the prices for Uber rides, that used to be a lot cheaper, at least for me. They've gone through the roof. Now I imagine that's because of the driver shortage, whatever. But wow, it is now at that point where, you know what? I'm just going to hop on the subway.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, or take a taxi, which--

BRIAN SOZZI: That, too.

JULIE HYMAN: --we had seen the differential, at least in New York City, between taxis and Ubers at one point because we were really seeing a lot of price competition between Uber and Lyft. They had brought the prices down to be more competitive with taxis. Now I feel like taxis are more competitive again.

BRAD SMITH: Well, it's interesting because the same ride that I took in a taxi actually here earlier this morning is the same as the price that I'm normally quoted if I'm taking an Uber in.


BRAD SMITH: However, the difference is that surge pricing that you get on the Uber or the Lyft platform, depending upon the number of drivers that are out there, and also, the fuel costs that are inputted for drivers as well that they have to consider. Now, I say all this, having had the best Uber out of my life last night with a person playing "Break My Soul" the second we got in. And they had the disco ball, which I know you would have appreciated, Sozzi. They had the disco ball going and everything. Best Uber ride experience.

JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, there you go.


JULIE HYMAN: I mean, I will say one small thing, coming back to all of these allegations, the one thing that it might have repercussions for, actually, the people on the other side. In other words, the politicians and lobbyists who were involved in allegedly lobbying on Uber's behalf. Among them, Emmanuel Macron, when he was economy minister in France, was in talks with Uber. So we'll see if there's any fallout.