Smart Money: Goldman Sachs Dumped Entire Uber Stake On Retail Bagholders Last Year

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs sold its entire stake in Uber — about 10M shares, turning a $5M investment made in 2011 into a major windfall in Q4 2019. David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, Sept. 25, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Goldman Sachs, which owned about 10 million shares of Uber in late 2019, sold its entire stake in the ride-hailing giant in the fourth quarter, CNBC reported.

An early investor in Uber, Goldman likely realized a large gain that helped the bank beat analysts’ expectations for revenue in the period after its disappointing performance in 2019.  The company turned a $5 million wager using the firm’s own money back in 2011 into a major windfall, Yahoo Finance reported. 

Prohibited from selling its shares until Uber’s post-initial public offering lockup period expired in November, Goldman dumped its shares at the earliest opportunity.

Uber was a huge disappointment when it finally went public in May 2019, Market Insider reported. Shares fell as much as 8 percent in the first day of trading, wiping out $655 million-plus in investor wealth. Investors worried about Uber’s inability to turn a profit and at the end of 2019, Uber had lost 34 percent.

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Goldman CFO Stephen Scherr told analysts Wednesday that the company took advantage of “harvesting opportunities” in the fourth quarter by selling some of its holdings (which totaled $2.4 billion at the end of 2019), according to CNBC. The bank will continue to divest in public companies, Scherr said.

When Uber’s post-IPO lockup date expired in November, stock fell to a new low and the company’s valuation reached its lowest since 2015, when it was a private company.

So far in 2020, Uber has rebounded slightly based on its plans to be profitable in 2021. Shares are up 17 percent year-to-date through Tuesday’s close.