A driver for the Uber Technologies Inc. ride-hailing service uses the company’s app on a smartphone in an arranged photograph in Singapore. (Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg)

Uber Pitches Expansions While Investors Question Losses

(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. is betting expansion into new markets and new business areas will attract investors to its initial public offering. But at its first stop to pitch potential investors, a flurry of questions signaled that they’re focused on the company’s losses.

Uber kicked off its IPO roadshow Monday with lunch and breakfast meetings in London, people familiar with the matter said. More than 100 investors attended a lunch in Mayfair at Claridge’s hotel, they said, asking not to be identified because the meeting was private.

Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi started the lunch session by highlighting the company’s recent improvement, notably partnerships tied to its entry into markets such as the Middle East and Germany, according to people who were in attendance.

During the Q&A session, Uber management shared its plan to expand in logistics and other transportation businesses, including scooters, autonomous driving and mass transit, one of the people said. Thanks to its large platform, Uber aims to become a one-stop-shop for customers who would only need to use one platform for multiple services.

Uber has been compared to other Internet companies in the lead up to the IPO and executives made passing references to tech giant Amazon.com Inc. at the event, the people said.

A representative for Uber declined to comment. The company is seeking to raise as much as $9 billion in its IPO, which is expected to be the biggest in the U.S. this year.

Lyft Comparison

Investors quizzed the company’s management on its core focus and profitability, the people said. Unlike its competitors, Uber’s existing platform allows it to benefit from customer retention and cross-sell new products, Khosrowshahi said, according to the person.

The company will also have to face a comparison to Lyft Inc.. The smaller ride-hailing service priced its shares at the top of an elevated target range to raise $2.34 billion in its March IPO. The shares have fallen about 17 percent from the offer price since then.

Still, Uber management reassured investors about the firm’s path to profitability, one of the people said.

The London investor group meeting was the only European stop for Uber’s team, which is wrapping up the roadshow with one-on-one meetings with big institutions, including global assets managers and mutual funds, the person said.

The company plans to price its shares on May 9 and begin trading the following day on the New York Stock Exchange, according to a terms of the deal obtained by Bloomberg. The roadshow team will head to New York on Tuesday for its second stop, followed by Boston on Wednesday then the company’s hometown of San Francisco on Friday, the terms showed.

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