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Don’t Expect an Uber IPO Any Time Soon

TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 1TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2014 - Day 1
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick speaks onstage at TechCrunch Discrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 .Photograph by Steve Jennings — Getty Images

An Uber IPO would be the offering of the year: huge, spectacular and, according to the popular ride-hailing app’s CEO Travis Kalanick, not happening any time soon if he can help it.

“I’m going to make sure it happens as late as possible,” said Kalanick to CNBC Monday. He added that he had no idea if Uber would go public in the next three to five years.

Kalanick’s words are likely to disappoint investors who have been eagerly waiting to cash in on Uber’s meteoric rise in valuation over the past few years.

That’s because the unicorn, valued around $62.5 billion as of December, is in no shortage of private funding—which gives the company more freedom to manage its affairs. It also gives the company fewer regulatory hurdles to jump, and fewer eyes on its balance sheets.

“I call it the moral obligation with investors who put money in, they need to see liquidity and of course we have employees as well who put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make Uber successful and they own equity and so have to ultimately find liquidity for all shareholders,” he told CNBC.


Kalanick’s comments, which have been repeated by the CEO before—come at a time when private capital for unicorns seems to be drying up, while recent tech IPOs, including Zynga (ZNGA), Etsy (ETSY), and Fitbit (FIT), are having a tough time.

Though some critics say Uber’s decision against going public is unfair to investors.

“He’s wimping out,” Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist told Fortune‘s Dan Primack in February’s Upfront Summit in Los Angeles. “That should be a publicly traded company.” He added that Uber had to give returns to private equity investors. “You can’t just say f— you. Take the goddamn company public.”