Uber Posts Fourth-Quarter Loss of $1.1 Billion on Higher Sales

21

Uber Technologies Inc. continued to boost ridership and revenue throughout last year, despite a punishing stretch that included a sexual harassment scandal, the resignation of its longtime chief and a blockbuster lawsuit from its primary rival in self-driving vehicles.

The San Francisco company said revenue rose 12% in the fourth quarter to $2.26 billion from three months earlier while its loss narrowed to $1.1 billion, according to a detailed financial statement reviewed by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The privately held company isn’t obligated to disclose financial results publicly, and didn’t provide year-ago comparisons. Uber did provide results for all four quarters of the year, showing sales rising at least 10% between each three-month period.

Gross bookings, the amount of money Uber books before taking a roughly 25% commission per ride, was $11.06 billion, up 14% from the third quarter, according to the statements. This total, which includes the core ride-hailing as well as prepared food delivery and freight services, was up about 60% from a year-ago figure of $6.9 billion reported last year by the Journal. 

Uber’s new CEO Dara Khowsrowshahi has indicated to investors he wants to shore up the company’s finances ahead of an expected initial public offering in as soon as 2019. He has sold divisions and sought to rein in costly promotions that hurt profitability, after nearly a decade of pushing for growth at all costs under former CEO

Travis Kalanick.

Uber, for the full year, posted a loss of $4.46 billion on sales of $7.36 billion. Not including certain items like interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, Uber’s fourth-quarter loss was $775 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.02 billion in last year’s third quarter.

Uber isn’t burning cash as fast as its loss would suggest. Cash burn was a scant $40 million during the quarter compared with the loss of $1.1 billion.

With a potential IPO in sight, Uber has begun providing more detailed financial statements to investors and the public. It gained a new major investor in a deal with

SoftBank Group
Corp.

to buy about 15% of shares from existing stakeholders as well as a $1.25 billion direct sale of stock, valued at about $7.7 billion in total.

That deal set in motion of a series of corporate reforms, including a bigger board and the expansion of voting rights to all shareholders.

Last week Uber put to rest at least one of its legal kerfuffles, settling the case brought by

Alphabet
Inc.’s

Waymo alleging it conspired to steal self-driving car trade secrets. The settlement grants Waymo a stake valued around $245 million. 

Write to Greg Bensinger at greg.bensinger@wsj.com

Appeared in the February 14, 2018, print edition as ‘Uber’s Revenue Rises Amid Tumult.’

Source