(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. has been on the wrong side of investor sentiment since its debut on the public market this year, and Barclays analyst Ross Sandler said the ride-hailing company could be “one major announcement” away from a change in the narrative.
Shares of the company came under significant pressure around the expiry of its IPO lockup period -- when selling restrictions for early investors and insiders ended -- and Sandler expects those concerns will now diminish, with fourth-quarter results likely to be more impressive than the third quarter.
“This cocktail should produce outsized returns for those willing to take the extreme risk,” Sandler wrote in a note to clients, even though sentiment around Uber is currently the most negative in Barclays’ coverage universe.
Uber earlier this month said it expected to be profitable by 2021, much earlier than Wall Street expectations, but the optimism was marred by tepid results from the food delivery segment, where booking lagged estimates amid continued competitive pressures. The company is also challenging several states that say they’re misclassifying drivers as independent contractors, and New Jersey hit the company with a $650 million tax bill.
For the food delivery business, Eats, Sandler said separating the India segment and potentially combining the U.S. operations with another player would “meaningfully change the profitability outlook and the stock narrative.” The analyst also estimated the core ride-hailing segment’s Ebitda could reach about $4 billion in 2021, more than offsetting losses at other segments and corporate overhead.
“Food delivery and ride-hailing in duopoly market structures can be very profitable, like travel, and we think Uber is one catalyst away from the market realizing it,” Sandler said. The analyst has an overweight rating on the stock, with a price target of $40, below the average price target of $45.
Uber shares rose 0.8% in pre-market trading on Friday. The stock has lost over 42% since the May IPO. Yet despite the rout, Wall Street analysts are overwhelmingly positive, with 26 recommending buying the shares, 11 advocating holding and only one with a sell rating, according to Bloomberg data.
To contact the reporter on this story: Esha Dey in New York at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brad Olesen at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven Fromm, Courtney Dentch
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.