Uber’s Business Diversity Cheered by Street as Rides Revive

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. drew a warm response from Wall Street after the San Francisco-based firm posted its first-ever decline in rides, but said business is already starting to recover.

Analysts particularly noted the resilience of Uber’s food delivery operation, which mitigated the impact from the drop in passenger rides. Further diversification is seen as possible, with Citigroup considering partnerships and Morgan Stanley identifying add-on opportunities such as grocery delivery.

Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said Thursday ride-hailing sales have increased for each of the last three weeks and are on track to do so again this week. Uber shares rose as much as 7.7% to $33.30 in New York on Friday. The stock has now rebounded 116% from the record low hit on March 18.

Uber’s Business Diversity Cheered by Street as Rides Revive

Rival ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. rose 22% following its results on Thursday, although analysts had mixed reactions to the numbers. The stock gained another 5.4% on Friday.

Here’s a round up of analyst comments on Uber’s results:

Piper Sandler, Alexander Potter

(Neutral, price target cut to $33 from $39)

Thanks to diversification, Uber’s revenue declines will be less severe than they otherwise would be if the company were a ride-hailing pure-play.

We expect this trend to continue, and although Uber Eats remains less profitable than ride-hailing, we think the food delivery business could experience structural, permanent, and largely favorable changes due to Covid-19.

KeyBanc, Edward Yruma

(Overweight, price target $40)

Similar to Lyft, rides are improving week-on-week, and this should accelerate as shelter in place begins to dissipate.

Recovery will not be linear, but we believe that Uber is well positioned to emerge post-Covid-19 as the company has maintained driver supply and engagement with users through the Eats platform.

Citi, Itay Michaeli

(Buy)

We believe a positive share price reaction is warranted as the first quarter delivered reassuring data points amid the current crisis, while supporting the case for a stronger overall network position.

Looking ahead, one area we’re watching post the Uber Jump-Lime transaction is whether Uber might also consider pursuing a similar strategy with AVs (ATG), as this could have both strategic and financial implications.

Morgan Stanley, Brian Nowak

(Overweight, price target raised to $47 from $43)

Importantly, Uber is addressing safety including masks, cleaning supplies, and technology integration to ensure people are wearing masks.

Safety is likely to be an important competitive point for riders and drivers in a pre-Covid vaccine world.

MKM Partners, Rohit Kulkarni

(Buy, price target cut to $38 from $45)

The key highlight from the conference call was two-fold: (1) During April, Uber has noticed week-on-week improvement in rides bookings while Eats bookings have accelerated; and (2) Covid-19 has pushed out Uber’s profitability by “quarters” instead of “years.”

Uber’s market opportunity is clearly expanding (food delivery) while the company is sowing seeds into more growth segments.

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