Does Uber Have a Stock Symbol?

Does Uber have a stock symbol? Uber doesn't have a stock symbol because they are not a publicly traded company, but the company is planning on going public soon...

But because the ride-sharing giant has been racked with so many scandals and controversies, an IPO in 2017 won't happen.

does Uber have a stock symbolHowever, we now know the Uber IPO date could be set between 2019 and 2021, thanks to new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Ahead of this highly anticipated IPO, we wanted to make sure Money Morning readers are prepared.

Here's everything you need to know about investing in Uber, including whether you should buy Uber stock when it goes public...

How Does the $70 Billion Company Operate?

Uber operates like a taxi service, but ride seekers don't hail a car or call anyone for a ride. Everything happens through the Uber app on a smartphone. The app will assign an available driver to pick up the passenger and take them to their destination.

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Once a ride is complete, the passenger is automatically charged through their credit card connected to the account. Uber keeps 20% of the total, and the driver gets the rest plus any tips.

Uber is also unique because its drivers are independent contractors who use their own vehicles. Because nearly anyone can sign up to drive, Uber is able to keep drivers on the streets across the country without a formal staffing process.

Now that you know how Uber operates, we wanted to provide more details on the recent scandals that have hurt the company...

Scandals Have Derailed the Uber IPO

Uber has dealt with so many scandals this year that its U.S. market share has dropped from 84% at the beginning of 2017 to 77% in May.

Why did this happen?

It all started with U.S. President Donald Trump signing an executive order banning citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entry into the United States for 90 days.

A widespread protest broke out at New York's JFK airport, and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA) chose to join the protest with a one-hour strike.

Uber decided to still operate and pick up passengers.


Who Is Dara Khosrowshahi?

But not only did Uber ignore the protest, it also raised its prices at the JFK airport, a tactic Uber calls "surge pricing." The #DeleteUber campaign that followed on social media prompted more than 200,000 Uber customers to delete their accounts, according to a Feb. 3, 2017, Fortune report.

Then, on Feb. 19, former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a blog post that detailed her experience with sexual harassment within the company. A few days later on Feb. 23, Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL) sued Uber for alleged theft of intellectual property.

In August, The Wall Street Journal broke a story about Uber leasing unsafe cars to its drivers in Singapore. In 2016, the company leased more than 1,000 Honda Vezel vehicles, which were under recall, and then re-leased those cars to Uber drivers.

One vehicle caught on fire because of the defect.

Now, Khosrowshahi has to deal with all these scandals when he officially starts working at Uber on Sept. 4, 2017. On top of that, he also needs to turn Uber's revenue around.

The ride-hailing app lost $2.8 billion in 2016, and it's on track to lose $2.7 billion in 2017.

But if the new Uber CEO changes the company's culture ahead of the IPO, should you buy Uber stock?

Here's what you need to know ahead of the Uber IPO date...

Should I Buy Uber Stock?

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Any investor who wants to buy Uber stock needs to understand their long-term investment goals and the risks involved with owning Uber.

Tech stocks, in particular, can be volatile to own after an IPO. Even strong companies that are good long-term investments like Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) aren't immune to volatility and price swings.

For example, FB stock plummeted as low as $18.80 on Oct. 19, 2012. That was a 50% loss from its $38 IPO price in roughly six months.

It has skyrocketed 806% since then, but investors who panicked and sold during the price swing lost a lot of money.

And there will most certainly be volatile price swings for early Uber stock owners because of something called a "lock-up period."

You see, those wealthy investors and large institutions who own Uber stock before it's available to the public have to hold on to their shares for a certain period of time. It's to prevent a massive sell-off all at once.

Most IPO lock-up periods restrict insiders from selling their stock for 90 or 180 days after the company goes public.

But when the lock-up period expires, the insiders can start to sell. And if many of them are selling, then stock prices can plummet.

For example, pre-IPO investors of Shake Shack Inc. (NYSE: SHAK) decided to sell roughly 26.2 million shares of SHAK stock on Oct. 8, 2015. On that day, the Shake Shack stock price fell 6.6%.

That's why Robinson recommends a specific strategy when investing in an IPO.

"I generally tell retail investors to avoid buying an IPO at the open because the insiders have already made all the money available at the debut," Robinson said.

"My exception to this rule is to put in a limit order that is fairly tight from the offering price. Otherwise the risk is you buy at the top and then go upside down. That's a big risk to carry with a new issue that hasn't hit the lock-up date," Robinson said.

So if you believe in Uber's business model and its long-term profitability, you should put a limit order in for Uber stock as close to the offering price as possible.

As Uber reveals more information about its earnings and IPO plans, Money Morning will update this guide to keep you informed with up-to-date information.

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