IMPRESSIVE: The Uber IPO Is Oversubscribed by Day 2 of Roadshow

“Uber IPO Is Oversubscribed by Day Two of Roadshow,” it says here, but I would say that Uber Technologies Inc.’s initial public offering was oversubscribed by 2016 at the latest. Like if you’d given me 24 hours, at any time in the last three years, to line up $8 or $9 billion of orders for public Uber stock, I could have done it. You wouldn’t have to give me a prospectus or audited financial statements or talking points for the sales pitch or even the names and phone numbers of big portfolio managers, I would just…

call the publicly available customer-support lines at Fidelity and Capital and be like “hey Uber’s going public, you guys want a couple of yards?” and they’d be like “oh sure” and I’d be done by lunchtime. This is easy, easy stuff. I mean, at some price, anyway.

Imagine if Morgan Stanley was mandated to lead Uber’s IPO, and they went out on the road and pitched investors, and the investors were all like “Uber? Never heard of them, pass.” I think it’d be the most embarrassing event in the history of capital-markets banking. Morgan Stanley raised $475 millionfor Uber privately, three years ago, from retail-ish investors, without financial statements. Uber sold $9 billion of stock—a bigger deal than the IPO—in one private deal last year. Of course the IPO was oversubscribed immediately.

Now, oversubscription is a pretty low bar. The fact that there is billions of dollars’ worth of demand for Uber stock is very very obvious; the question is at what price…

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