Uber IPO: Will Uber chauffeurs revenue from tech company’s initial public offering? – CBS News

Jeff Bezos will get back at richer with Uber IPO

  • With Uber’s prominent IPO looming, qualified chauffeurs stand to get a piece of the stock offering.
  • 5.4 million shares, or about 3 percent of the overall offering, will be scheduled for U.S. drivers.
  • Still, relations in between the ride-hailing company and its chauffeurs are contentious, and a strike is prepared for May 8.


The top executives, board members and early financiers in Uber Technologies stand to reap billions of dollars off of their stakes in the ride-hail business when it goes public later today. Ousted creator and previous CEO Travis Kalanick, who still owns 8.6 percent of Uber, is expected to make almost $9 billion on his stake, while early investor Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com– the world’s wealthiest guy– stands to make $400 million off of his financial investment.

Qualified Uber chauffeurs– the lifeline of the business– won’t see anywhere near the same sort of returns, although some of them will have the option to purchase Uber shares when they begin trading between an expected $44 and $50 apiece this week.

Here is how the IPO mathematics works for drivers: About one-quarter, or 1.1 million, of Uber’s 3.9 million motorists all over the world who have actually completed at least 2,500 trips prior to April 7, including at least one in 2019, and are in excellent standing with the company, will be eligible for a one-time “driver gratitude reward.” The bonuses, based upon a driver’s variety of finished rides, variety from $100 for chauffeurs who have finished 2,500 journeys to $40,000 for motorists who have actually finished 40,000 trips.

Uber loses an average of 58 cents per trip

U.S.-based motorists will have the choice to utilize those bonuses to acquire approximately $10,000 worth of stock in the business, an Uber spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. The ride-sharing business has reserved 5.4 million shares– or 3 percent– of its typical stock for motorists. Any shares not purchased by motorists will be provided to the public, Uber stated in an SEC filing last month.

Uber has long had a controversial relationship with its motorists, who are classified as independent contractors rather than employees. Some drivers prepare to strike throughout Wednesday morning’s rush hour to protest what they state are long hours and low pay. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hail service drivers who are members of the New York Taxi Employees Alliance argue that Uber executives and insiders are getting rich off of drivers’ tough work while they have a hard time to make ends satisfy.

” When you compare early financiers and executives and what they stand to make, that undoubtedly contrasts significantly with the drivers, despite the fact that they are the hearts and lungs of the Uber economy,” observed Wedbush stock expert Daniel Ives.

Typical per hour salaries of $9.21 after chauffeurs’ costs

Uber motorists generate income on a dual per mile and per minute formula, while Uber gathers service and booking fees that vary by location each time a trip is taken. One research study from the left-learning Economic Policy Institute approximates that Uber drivers earn the equivalent of $9.21 in per hour salaries after taking into account Uber’s charges plus drivers’ car and other expenditures.

Other studies approximate they earn more. Gridwise, a software application company that helps chauffeurs optimize their revenues throughout ride-hail apps, estimates Uber motorists earn $1865 hourly before costs. In Chicago, for example, where a driver’s average reported earnings per hour are $1882, the typical earnings per hour is $1503, according to Gridwise.

Among drivers’ demands are that Uber keep a smaller percentage of each fare. Its ride-sharing “take rate” in 2018 was 21 percent, varying from 12 percent to 24 percent, depending upon the geographical area, according to the company’s SEC filing, and it’s anticipated to rise to 22.3 percent later on in 2019, according to Wedbush’s Ives.

And Uber still loses money: In the years because its inception, it has yet to turn a revenue– and might never generate income. In 2018, the business lost more than $3 billion, the comparable, typically, of losing 58 cents per trip in 2015.

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” Wall Street financiers are informing Uber and Lyft to reduce chauffeur income, stop rewards, and go faster to driverless cars and trucks,” New york city Taxi Workers Alliance Executive Director Bhairavi Desai said in a news release. “Uber and Lyft composed in their S-1 filings that they believe they pay drivers excessive already. With the IPO, Uber’s corporate owners are set to make billions, all while chauffeurs are left in hardship and declare bankruptcy.”

Uber says drivers’ status as independent specialists manages them versatility they otherwise wouldn’t have– a perk whose worth is not lost on drivers. The flip side is that they must provide their own vehicles, and are accountable for associated expenses including gas, cars and truck insurance coverage and various costs.

The company also acknowledges in its IPO filing that its “service would be adversely affected if chauffeurs were classified as staff members rather of independent professionals.”

The disappointing Lyft experience

While Uber motorists will have a chance– at IPO time– to own a part of the company they work for, there’s no warranty that it will be a good investment. Uber rival Lyft, which debuted on the Nasdaq in March, has seen its shares drop more than 30 percent since its IPO.

” The exact same thing was provided for the Lyft IPO and there wasn’t much of a benefit [for drivers] due to the fact that the stock was trading below IPO price,” stated Kathleen Smith, principal and supervisor of IPO ETFs at Renaissance Capital, a service provider of institutional research study and IPO exchange-traded funds.

” It’s a creative move by Uber and Lyft– and we have actually seen it in the past– however in some cases it doesn’t work as planned and if workers don’t get what they expect. If things don’t go well, they might be dissatisfied,” she stated.

Smith also anticipates numerous motorists to keep their cash benefit and not exchange it for stock. “To me, the profile of an Uber chauffeur isn’t someone who is taking shares and holding them, the profile we see is somebody taking the money and spending it on costs,” she said.

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Either method, Uber needs to find some typical ground with its drivers if it hopes to scale the business to satisfy the estimated $80 billion in market value that some on Wall Street are providing it. Uber would do well to reward its drivers who could ditch the platform altogether for competitors like Lyft or Juno, if working conditions end up being too unfavorable.

” There is some benefit to staff member commitment, but when provided a bonus offer like this it might work the opposite way, if the stock goes down, it might trigger grousing amongst motorists,” Smith said.

It’s clear the IPO will produce some huge winners, and the share program is an effort by Uber to ingratiate itself to chauffeurs.

“[The stock options] talk to the balancing act that Uber is going to have over the coming years,” Ives stated. “Chauffeurs are the fuel in the engine and they need to be careful with [company] take rates and profitability on flights due to the fact that there is a certain line in the sand where chauffeurs could leave or go work for another rival. Uber needs to, from a PR perspective, handle this such that chauffeurs feel like they are a part of this business, and them getting shares in the IPO speaks with that.”

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