Uber confirmed today that it raised $1.2 billion from outside investors. Reports are that this round values the company in the $40 billion range. Investors should take this valuation with a grain of salt but by any measure it is big deal. Six months ago I asked a bunch of bloggers on the backs of a previous Uber raise whether private markets had become the new public markets.
There was, not surprisingly, some differences in opinion. However, now that companies are staying private longer and their valuations continue to climb higher it is becomingly increasingly difficult for investors to ignore the goings on in the private markets. Especially when Uber would rank solidly in the upper 25% of the S&P 500 by market cap.
At a $40 billion valuation, Uber would be worth more than 385 companies in the S&P 500. pic.twitter.com/3tSJLSPNhQ
— Dennis K. Berman (@dkberman) December 4, 2014
It is not for nothing that firms like Fidelity and T. Rowe Price are expected to participate in the latest Uber round. Like Facebook before it, a company like Uber is simply too big to ignore. While companies are staying private longer, in the long run there isn’t all that much new here. The cycle of private to public and private is an unending one on Wall Street.
Michael Dell, as CEO of a now private Dell, is today happy that he no longer needs to spend “20% of his time” dealing with outside investors. Right now Uber is happy to stay private with the help of a range of deep pocketed investors. However some day in the future the pressure to go public will be unavoidable and Uber will move into the next phase of the financing cycle. In the meantime you will be left out if ignore Uber’s ride.