Uber expects to go public at some point within the next one to 10 years, according to the company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, who says he plans to leave it as late as possible.
The company, which isn’t currently profitable, has been able to resist an IPO by raising $12.5 billion (£8.6 billion) from venture capital investors and large corporates. But Uber ultimately plans to carry out a stock market listing.
Kai Diekmann, editor-in-chief of German newspaper Bild, asked Kalanick at the Axel Springer NOAH Berlin conference if his investors are asking him about an IPO.
Kalanick replied: “Sometimes they ask. What I say is we have an obligation to ultimately find liquidity for the investors. But more importantly we have thousands of employees that own stock [who gave] their blood, sweat, and tears to make Uber a great company.
“So I say we are going to IPO as late as humanly possible. It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches. We will IPO the day before that. Do you get it?”
Kalanick went on to mention Facebook’s IPO, which valued the company at over $104 billion (£72 billion). “Facebook went public when ultimately they had created enough liquidity for their employees,” he said. “Our employees work hard and ultimately that stock that everybody worked for should go to them.”
The LA-born billionaire, now aged 39, said he believes that a company should only IPO if it can remain un-bureaucratic. “If you can keep your employees from refreshing every 10 minutes to see what the stock price is, your company is going to be more geared towards the future and move faster,” he said.
When asked how long Uber employees have to wait they can cash in on their stock, Kalanick initially refused to answer.
“How patient do they [Uber employees] have to be?” asked Diekmann. “1 year? 2 year? 3 years? 4 years?”
Kalanick replied: “I don’t know. Like I said…”
Diekmann pushed back, asking “roughly” how long it will be.
Kalanick conceded: “It’s going to be somewhere between one year and 10.”