Uber is said to near sale of $1bn self-driving unit stake

Uber is said to near sale of $1bn self-driving unit stake

Uber and SoftBank declined to comment.

Selling a piece of the selfdriving business would allow Uber to offload part of a very expensive endeavour, as it faces scrutiny from prospective investors in an initial public offering (IPO) planned for the coming months.

Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing companies which represent direct competitors in the industry of getting a quick and cheap ride anywhere in the world where Lyft and Uber applications are supported, have submitted their IPO filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of 2018 around the same time.

The ride-hailing company has yet to publicly file financial paperwork for its IPO, but recently said it lost an adjusted US$1.8 billion a year ago. Uber was valued at about $72 billion last August, and is said to be seeking a valuation as high as $120 billion for its IPO.

Lyft, a smaller firm which has ride-hailing and bike-renting in the United States and several Canadian cities, is seeking a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion, up from its $15 billion valuation as a private company.

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The two companies are positioned to kick off a string of hotly anticipated public debuts from highly valued tech companies, energising the IPO market after a quiet start to the year.

Uber, which past year lost about $3.3 billion, is betting on a transition to self-driving cars to eliminate the need to pay drivers.

Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, has previously said a culture change is a work in progress. But the company lost $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russian Federation and Southeast Asia. The company has burned through more than US$10 billion in its lifetime, and the development of autonomous cars accounts for a sizeable chunk.

Lyft's revenue for past year was $US2.2 billion, with $US8.1 billion in gross ride bookings. Uber's business is much larger and more diverse than Lyft's, however.

The investment by SoftBank and Toyota can also help the ride providing firm in establishing its value as it prepares to enter the stock market.

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