May 5, 2019

Public markets take center stage with all eyes on Uber IPO

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber. WeWork. SoftBank. Even Tesla. After a decade in which private markets have overwhelmingly funded the most innovative and dynamic companies in the world, public markets are having their day, and showing what they're capable of.

Driving the news: Uber will go public this week in the most feverishly anticipated IPO since Facebook. (Let's hope it goes better than that fiasco.) It's probably going to end up raising somewhere in the region of $9 billion. To put that in context: The company has raised about $20 billion to date and is currently sitting on about $6.4 billion in cash. So while the public markets are providing a lot of capital, they're still providing less than private investors have done over the years.

  • WeWork burned through more cash than Uber did last year; it too is going public, in an attempt to keep finding fuel for its cash fire. The news was music to bondholders' ears: The benchmark 2025 bond, which had a yield of more than 11% in January, now trades above par and yields just 8%. Debt investors believe, it seems, that a large cushion of public equity might be able to protect them should WeWork run into financial trouble.
  • Tesla is raising money in the stock market too — as much as $2.7 billion in total, between fresh equity and an equity-linked bond. The move is a retreat for CEO Elon Musk, who had previously been adamant that he would raise no fresh equity and who was cutting costs aggressively in an attempt to avoid such dilution. Shareholders don't share his aversion to fresh capital raises: Tesla's stock price rose on the news.
  • Even SoftBank is reportedly considering an IPO of its $100 billion Vision Fund. The move would be legally dubious, at least in the U.S., but I'm sure that if he's serious, CEO Masayoshi Son will be able to find a stock market happy to accept the listing — and that there would be no shortage of investors willing to buy shares in the fund, at the right price.

The big picture: Buybacks have already reached $272 billion this year and are on track to exceed $1 trillion for the second year running. That's a lot of cash going into investors' pockets, and most of it is going to get reinvested in the market somehow. It stands to reason that liquidity-constrained companies would want to access that source of funds, possibly on a repeated basis. If Tesla can do secondary offerings, there's no reason why Uber or WeWork shouldn't be able to do so as well.

Go deeper

Tariff worries hit record high amid coronavirus outbreak

Data: CivicScience, margin of error ±1 percentage points; Chart: Axios Visuals

Concern about President Trump's tariffs on U.S imports grew to record high levels among Americans last month, particularly as more lost their jobs and concern about the novel coronavirus increased.

Driving the news: About seven in 10 people said they were at least somewhat concerned about tariffs in March, according to the latest survey from CivicScience provided first to Axios.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Largest 24-hour spike in fatalities

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, as the U.S. saw its largest 24-hour spike in fatalities, per Johns Hopkins data. Recorded deaths across the U.S. surpassed 12,900 early Wednesday.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed that lockdowns must continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,430,453 — Total deaths: 82,133 — Total recoveries: 301,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 399,081 — Total deaths: 12,907 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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