Uber Tells its Shareholders to Expect Bookings to Rise and Losses to Narrow
Uber Technologies set out to assuage investor concern Tuesday in its first presentation to shareholders since former CEO Travis Kalanick was forced out last month.
Over the course of a 15-minute conference call Uber executives projected that bookings — which saw a gross increase of 10% in Q1 2017 on the previous quarter — would continue to rise and that losses would keep on narrowing, Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the meeting.
Uber’s attorney also reportedly told shareholders that the company could reach a settlement on a potentially damaging legal challenge over self-driving cars from Alphabet’s (GOOG) Waymo before the lawsuit’s scheduled court date in October.
The investor mutiny that pushed Kalanick out came in the wake of a string of challenges to Uber, ranging from allegations of sexual harassment from former employees, to the Waymo lawsuit, to increasing competition from other ride-sharers. In the last quarter of 2016 Uber lost $991 million before interest, taxes and stock-based compensation. In Q1 2017 it lost $708 million. In Tuesday’s conference call, Uber reportedly told investors that losses would narrow further, but didn’t say by how much.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, an Uber spokesman said, “We’re fortunate to have a healthy and growing business, giving us the room to make the changes we know are needed on management and accountability, our culture and organization, and our relationship with drivers.” The statement did not include financials or plans for the Waymo suit.
An emailed statement from Waymo made no mention of a settlement either. “We believe we have strong evidence to put in front of a jury about Uber’s misappropriation of Waymo’s trade secrets and look forward to trial,” it said.
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According to Bloomberg, one of the ways in which Uber is attempting to mitigate its considerable deficit is by hiking booking fees in the U.S. and Canada. The fee — which accounts for about $1.50 to $3 of a each fare and is not shared with drivers — was raised by between 15 and 50 cents per ride last week, depending on the city.