Uber Set to Debut on NYSE, Under Pressure to Avoid Lyft Debacle

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The company is hoping to avoid the tumultuous first weeks of trading in rival Lyft Inc., whose shares fell below its $72 IPO price within days of listing and closed 23 percent below that price Thursday.

Uber's assent to become the world's biggest ride-hailing company has come with a string of scandals which at times threatened the success of an eventual IPO.

Nelson Chai, the company's chief financial officer who was at the NYSE to mark the first day of the stock's trading, said in a CNBC interview that he was not focused on one day of trading and was more concerned about the company's long-term outlook. Over the past five years, just 10% of such companies finished their first day of trading below their IPO price, said Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO focused funds.

Uber has prioritized selecting shareholders - particularly institutional investors - that it thinks will hold on to the stock for a long time, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A market value of less than US$70 billion is a considerable climb down from earlier projections: a year ago, bankers jockeying to lead the offering told Uber it could be valued at as much as US$120 billion in an IPO.

The IPO pricing is a balancing act for Uber's team of underwriting banks, led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, to negotiate a good price while leaving some upside to ensure the stock trades up on its market debut.

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The jitters about an intensifying USA trade war with China also have roiled the stock market this week. As well as the original ride-hailing business, Uber is developing driverless cars and has a food delivery operation, Uber Eats.

Uber is due to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday under the symbol "UBER", the most anticipated USA debut since Facebook seven years ago. But even if the stock market had been doing great today and Lyft's IPO hadn't been a low-level disaster, Uber would still kind of suck. As of Friday's closing price, his stake in Uber will be worth $4.9 billion. Uber eventually hired Dara Khosrowshahi as CEO.

Uber is one of those companies that's down to lose a buttload of money in pursuit of a monopoly over its industry.

Arun Sundararajan, a professor at New York University's business school, said that while going public will give Uber money to capture more of the transportation market, it could also push it to put quarterly targets ahead of its broader ambitions. And of course earlier investors are still going to make small fortunes.

Khosrowshahi told The Associated Press on Friday it was a tough week to go public, but the company got it done.

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