Uber’s targeting 2019 for an IPO and is confident SoftBank deal will happen

Uber is pencilling in 2019 for an IPO with board members now agreeing on the target date its newly installed boss has revealed.

Dara Khosrowshahi had previously said the firm would go public in 18 to 36 months when he joined the multi-billion dollar startup in August, which put it in 2019 or 2020. But he's now narrowed that timeframe down, revealing it will happen sooner rather than later.

Speaking on stage at the New York Times DealBook conference, he also said there was consensus support for the plans from the company's board, including ousted CEO and founder Travis Kalanick.

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"We have all of the disadvantages of being a public company, as far as the spotlight on us, without any of the advantages. So Travis and the whole board now agree we should just go public. The numbers support it," he said.

He also spoke publicly for the first time about a potential investment from Japan's SoftBank, revealing that a price for the deal has yet to be agreed.

"The board went in a very bad direction. We're reconstituting the board. It's going to be a big board, but that's ok …. our bringing in SoftBank as a strategic investor at the right price would be a good thing," he said.

"It hasn't happened yet but it will," he added.

Read more: Uber's gig economy fight could be about to head to the Supreme Court

SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son said earlier this week that it could still walk away from the deal, instead investing in its arch-rival Lyft. He said: “Depending on the price and conditions, it is wholly possible we could shift our investment to the other main company Lyft. It is wholly possible. We won't know until the very end."

Khosrowshahi, who was brought in from Expedia to turnaround the company after a series of scandals, said Lyft's performance would influence whether Uber would become profitable in the US in the next six months or not.

Lyft operates only in the US market currently and has surged in popularity of the back of Uber's troubles. It last month raised $1bn from Google parent Alphabet which is also a backer of Uber.


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