Uber plunges to record low as post-IPO selling curbs expire

A pedestrian checks a mobile device in front of the Uber Technologies Inc. headquarters building in San Francisco, California, U.S. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Multiple large stakes in Uber Technologies Inc. changed hands on Wednesday, pushing the shares down to an all-time low, as post-IPO selling restrictions for early investors and insiders lifted.

The sell-off has placed Uber among the top most actively traded stocks in the U.S. by value on Wednesday. Uber shares worth over $2.2 billion have traded as of 12:25 p.m., according to Bloomberg data. The stock dropped as much as 8.7% in New York, touching a new all-time low of $25.58.

“Part of the problem with why there is so much pressure, is that Uber and many of its IPO peers this year had stayed private longer,” Wedbush analyst Ygal Arounian said in an interview. Arounian added that it meant there were more shares issued in the private market, and that there are many more shareholders who can sell stock now. “There’s a simple supply and demand element to it,” the analyst said.

Wedbush had earlier estimated about 763 million shares will hit the market upon the lockup expiry.

The expiration of the IPO lockup period has been a much-dreaded event for Uber investors, also since positive news from the company has been scarce. The latest quarterly results out earlier this week failed to lift that gloom. Analysts said the company needed to show consistent and steady growth in the number of riders who use its services. It also needs to show a stable road to future profits, as well as provide more clarity around regulatory roadblocks in order for market sentiment to start turning in its favor. ​

The stock’s disastrous run since the IPO has weighed heavily on its top investor SoftBank Group, which holds a 13% stake in the company, according to Bloomberg data. Earlier on Wednesday, the Japanese investment firm reported its first quarterly operating loss in 14 years, after writing down the value of a string of marquee investments that included Uber.

​According to Bloomberg data, a block of 7.75 million shares crossed at 9:30 a.m. at a price of $26.02. Also, Goldman Sachs sold about 2 million shares on behalf of an unknown selling holder at $26.90 each, a 4.0% discount to Tuesday’s closing price. Shares were offered at $26.75 to $27.00.

Goldman Sachs held a 4.1% stake in Uber, according to Bloomberg data as of June, putting it among the top 10 holders.

Shares in 2019’s largest U.S. IPO are now down nearly 40% since the May debut. Shares of peer Lyft Inc. are down 24% over the same period. Wall Street, however, is still optimistic. About 25 analysts recommend buying the stock, while 12 suggest holding and only one advocates selling Uber shares, according to Bloomberg data.

Bloomberg