Several mutual funds have dropped their estimates of the value of Uber in the leadup to a secondary transaction that similarly dropped the worth of what is the world’s most valuable startup.
At least three Uber shareholders — Fidelity Investments, Principal Funds and Blackrock — in recent weeks have disclosed that they no longer feel Uber is worth as much as they once thought, new documents show. Those disclosures come after SoftBank successfully purchased hundreds of millions of shares of the company at a $48 billion valuation, a 30 percent discount from the $69 billion that private investors valued the company at in 2016.
Fidelity, a large Uber shareholder, said a month ago that its holding of Uber purchased in 2014 was worth $228 million. In its newest disclosure, as of Nov. 30, it said the same stock was worth about $180 million. That’s a 21 percent drop in share price.
Fidelity’s relationship with Uber has shown signs of strain in recent months. The company, which led Uber’s Series D financing round, signed onto the effort to oust Travis Kalanick from his job as Uber CEO. And this past December, Fidelity made an investment in Uber’s primary competitor in U.S. markets, Lyft.
Principal Funds similarly devalued the ride-hailing company. Principal, as of Nov. 30, said it valued the holdings of the company at $7.2 million in its LargeCap Growth Fund I, down from $8.9 million. That’s a 19 percent drop.
And Blackrock, which only discloses its valuations every six months, said as of Oct. 30 that the company was valued at about $268 million. As of April 30 — when Kalanick was still in charge and even though the company was careening from crisis to crisis — the mutual fund felt Uber was worth $317 million. That’s a 16 percent decline.
Some other mutual funds, such as T. Rowe Price, did not change their valuation of Uber in their most recent disclosures.
Fidelity and Principal declined to comment. Blackrock did not respond to a request for comment.
Mutual fund disclosures are published at a lag, but offer the closest thing to real-time evidence of how its investors claim to feel about certain companies — though not everyone in Silicon Valley feels they are the best barometer of a company’s worth.
SoftBank, though, was very successful when it priced its tender offer at a $48 billion valuation. The tender was oversubscribed as so many shareholders sought to sell, raising the question of whether that valuation was actually too high and the company was worth even less.
SoftBank purchased $1.25 billion in new shares of Uber at the existing valuation, partially in part to appease some existing investors who did not want to see their shares — on paper — decrease in value.
The markdowns also come in the wake of a data hack in November that targeted 57 million customers, a breach that some investors also worried would shave dollars off the company’s value.