|Bid||46.37 x 3200|
|Ask||46.37 x 3100|
|Day's Range||45.91 - 47.50|
|52 Week Range||43.41 - 88.60|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||N/A|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
China Tariffs Up to 100%? Pillsbury Says Maybe Yes Is President Donald Trump just playing bad cop, or is he really going to raise tariffs again on China? Nobody knows, probably not even Trump himself. However, according to a report from some guy named Michael Pillsbury, not to be confused with the glutinous consumer-oriented baking […]The post Market Morning: Pillsbury 100% Tariff Threat, Oracle Says Uber Worthless, Panetta War Warning appeared first on Market Exclusive.
(Bloomberg) -- Payments platform Stripe Inc. became one of the most highly valued startups in the world on Thursday, after it announced a new funding round at a $35 billion valuation. In the U.S., only vaping giant Juul Labs Inc. and the troubled We Co. are more valuable.Stripe raised $250 million in funding in the new round, which the company said will be used to continue to expand around the world and launch new products. In September alone, it launched a new lending product as well as a corporate credit card. General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz are among the participating investors in the round. Stripe’s previous valuation was $23 billion. “Our investors sense that we are still in the early stages of our opportunity,” said John Collison, Stripe’s co-founder and president. “We’re now processing hundreds of billions of dollars a year.” The San Francisco-based company counts both startups and tech giants among the customers for its core payments processing services, with Uber Technologies Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. using it for some transactions. Stripe has also continued to add more products, including fraud protection, billing and credit card services. It makes money by taking a portion of each transaction. Stripe was founded in 2010 by John and Patrick Collison, 29 and 31, who immigrated to Silicon Valley to pursue careers in technology after growing up in Ireland. The company’s latest round dramatically increased Stripe’s value to $35 billion, not counting the more than $1 billion investors have poured into the company. Its valuation jump comes as some of the highest profile tech startups have struggled in the public markets. Uber and Lyft Inc., which both listed shares publicly this year, are trading below their IPO price, and the We Co. delayed its public offering. Recently, WeWork’s market value has been called into question by investors. John Collison said that the company was not planning an IPO in the near future. “We’re very happy as an independent company,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have investors that bring a pretty long-term mindset to this.” Stripe’s fundraising was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal. (Adds comments starting in the third paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at email@example.com, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Many of us have been fixated on WeWork’s struggle to go public and the disastrous post-IPO stock performance of high-profile startups Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. But as has often been true in the last few years, the tale is different for the unglamorous tech companies that are running circles around their cool peers.The latest example is Datadog Inc., which helps companies monitor the health of their apps and computing infrastructure; it sold its first batch of public stock late Wednesday. If you fell asleep reading the description, let me wake you up by saying that the company’s most recent pre-IPO investors(1) have a nearly 1,100% gain on their shares in less than four years,(2)according to figures from EquityZen, a marketplace for private stock sales. The earliest Datadog stock buyers from 2011 have a nearly 50,000% gain.In a non-systematic look at more than a dozen other tech companies that have gone public in the past couple of years, the stock gain for Datadog’s pre-IPO investors is at or near the top of the leader board. Repeatedly, the less-buzzy startups like Datadog that sell cloud-subscription software to businesses have been the ones that deliver the goods for early backers. There have been exceptions, but companies like Zoom Video Communications Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc. — the coolest of the Zzzz crowd — have tended to produce strong returns for pre-IPO investors, and their public shares have typically done well, too.Investors, both public and private, love these software-as-a-service companies. Generally their technology is better than anything that came before — if there was an old-guard technology with similar functions — and once businesses use the software and stitch it together with email, calendars, information databases and other corporate systems, it can be tough to ditch. If they’re managed properly, these business software companies can grow fast and predictably.Among the tech companies that have gone public on U.S. stock exchanges since the beginning of 2018, nine of the top 10 by stock gains from their IPO price are software companies that sell to businesses, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. (No. 1 is Zscaler Inc., whose share price has more than tripled since its March 2018 IPO, despite a recent drop.)What are the lessons here? Well, not surprisingly, it may be that the consumer-oriented tech companies with lots of attention as startups may be great companies but not necessarily great investments if the hype leads to overvaluation. That’s particularly true — as in the cases of Uber, Lyft and WeWork — when public company investors are far more dubious than private investors about companies with unproven business models and unsteady financial metrics. The other lesson may be that you’re in luck if you founded a company in a sector like business software that, at least for now, is the apple of investors’ eyes. I have my doubts about how long these software-as-a-service companies can stay viable. When there is an economic downturn and companies take a hard look at what they’re spending on technology, there are going to be software bills they can live without. That swings the advantage to the big software supermarkets like Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon, which can offer companies discounts on a range of technologies. Some young business software companies are also spending big to grow in a way that may not be sustainable, and their corners of the market may not be as big as optimists expect. These young cloud software companies are also priced for growth to the point where they are vulnerable to any hiccup in customer acquisition numbers or revenue gains. That has happened recently, when companies like Zscaler, Alteryx Inc., PagerDuty Inc., CrowdStrike Holdings Inc. and New Relic Inc. reported wobbly financial results, changes in management or were just infected by worries from other companies in their sector. Still, Datadog shows the benefit of being the right kind of business at the right time. Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that Cisco Systems Inc. approached Datadog recently with a takeover offer significantly higher than the $7 billion valuation it had been shooting for in an IPO. (As of Thursday’s early stock market trades, Datadog is valued at about $11 billion, excluding the value of shares held by employees and others.)Datadog was apparently confident enough in its prospects to turn that down and opt to go public. The uncool companies truly are that cool.A version of this column originally appeared in Bloomberg’s Fully Charged technology newsletter. You can sign up here.(1) Those investors include Iconiq Capital, the investment fund that has managed money forMark Zuckerberg of Facebook and other affluent people and institutions in Silicon Valley and beyond. Other stock buyers included Index Ventures, OpenView Ventures, Amplify Partners and Contour Ventures, Datadog announced in early 2016.(2) I will say that it's unusual for tech startups these days to go public without selling stock or doing other cash collections in the four years before an IPO. Some startups can't go four weeks without needing fresh cash.To contact the author of this story: Shira Ovide at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Daniel Niemi at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Shira Ovide is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Lyft is willing to push a for a voter referendum on a new California law that relcassifies some independent contractors as employees.
(Bloomberg) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a sweeping new law that could force gig companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. to reclassify their workers as employees.The hotly contested legislation, Assembly Bill 5, dictates that workers can generally only be considered contractors if they are doing work that is outside the usual course of a company’s business. The law codifies a 2018 state supreme court ruling, and applies it to a wide range of state laws. It could upend the business models of companies that depend on armies of independent contractors, who aren’t guaranteed employment protections like minimum wage and overtime.The bill is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1. While the legislature has adjourned until next year, fierce lobbying and deal-making efforts are expected to continue in the meantime, and could potentially yield separate legislation in 2020. In a statement, Newsom called the bill "landmark legislation," and said that, "A next step is creating pathways for more workers to form a union, collectively bargain to earn more, and have a stronger voice at work—all while preserving flexibility and innovation." Lorena Gonzalez, the state assemblywoman who authored the bill, said in a statement that, “California is now setting the global standard for worker protections for other states and countries to follow.” Tech companies including the ride-hailing giants have tried unsuccessfully over the past year to secure concessions that would shield them from having to reclassify their workers, including holding talks with union leaders about potential compromises that would extend new perks to workers while preventing them from becoming employees. Newsom, a Democrat seen as friendly to both tech and labor, has publicly and privately urged a deal, but so far hasn’t been able to get one.An Uber spokesman expressed the company’s disappointment on Wednesday. “We've engaged in good faith with the Legislature, the Newsom administration and labor leaders for nearly a year on this issue,” he said in a statement, “and we believe California is missing a real opportunity to lead the nation by improving the quality, security and dignity of independent work.”Newsom said Wednesday that he would convene labor, business and legislative leaders, to discuss how California could "support innovation and a more inclusive economy,” by stepping in where the federal government had “fallen short,” to grant workers the “right to organize and collectively bargain.”Private sector unionization is generally governed by federal law rather than the states. But some labor advocates believe that the exclusion of many gig workers from federal protections creates an opportunity for states like California to establish their own unionization system. Others are hopeful that A.B. 5 itself, by forcing changes to companies’ business models, could make it easier for workers to qualify as employees under federal labor law as well.If no compromise is reached, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash Inc. have each committed $30 million to put a referendum on the 2020 ballot. In the meantime, Uber has signaled it will keep aggressively defending its position that its drivers are not employees, even under the new law. “Just because the test is hard does not mean we will not be able to pass it,” Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West told reporters last week.A spokesman for Lyft said it was hopeful the company could work with the governor’s office to “reach a historic agreement,” but added, “if necessary we are prepared to take this issue to the voters to preserve the freedom and access drivers and passengers want.”(Updates with comments starting in the fourth paragraph. )To contact the author of this story: Josh Eidelson in Palo Alto at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at email@example.com, Mark MilianAndrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
WeWork has postponed its IPO as its valuation has plunged. When a highly anticipated listing meets with a fate like this, there are several factors at play.
What investors might expect from the Fed's two-day policy meeting as Wall Street awaits another rate cut. The latest global oil news after the weekend's attacks on Saudi Arabia. Positive U.S. economic updates. And why JLL stock looks like a buy - Free Lunch
(Bloomberg) -- WeWork pushed back its much-awaited initial public offering as the company seeks more time to allay investor doubts over its governance, slashed valuation and business prospects.The offering is likely to be postponed until at least October, people familiar with the matter said Monday. The office-rental unicorn had planned to begin making its pitch to investors in a roadshow as soon as this week.“The We Co. is looking forward to our upcoming IPO, which we expect to be completed by the end of the year,” the company said in a statement on Monday evening in New York. On Tuesday morning, co-founders Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, as well as Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson, addressed employees in a roughly half-hour webcast. Minson said the company delayed the offering to make sure it was done “1,000% right,” and Neumann reiterated the plan to go public in 2019, according to a person who heard the remarks.The IPO was expected to be the next step in WeWork’s rapid growth and mark a victory for Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group Corp.’s plan to pour billions into startups around the world. Instead, it turned into a dramatic struggle between the company’s chief executive officer, bankers and SoftBank over whether to plow ahead in spite of a plunging valuation or pull the deal.The delay will give advisers more time to drum up interest and may allow the company to show investors another quarter’s worth of results. Still, the value of WeWork’s bonds sunk the most on record Tuesday on concerns that the cash-burning company will miss out not only on the more than $3 billion it planned to raise in the offering, but also a $6 billion credit facility tied to a successful IPO. WeWork must carry out the offering by Dec. 31 to get the loan, Bloomberg previously reported.SoftBank had pressed WeWork to put off the stock offering amid doubts about the business, people familiar with the matter said previously. In January, SoftBank made its last investment in WeWork, renamed We Co., at a valuation of $47 billion. The company was more recently expected to be valued at only about $15 billion in a listing and perhaps even less, people familiar with the matter have said.The company’s $669 million of bonds due in 2025 dropped as much as 7.3 cents on the dollar to 95.5 cents Tuesday in New York, according to the Trace bond-price reporting system. That’s the biggest decline since the notes were issued in April 2018.The biggest investors in SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund are now reconsidering how much to commit to its next investment vehicle after the oversized bet on WeWork soured. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which contributed $45 billion to the gargantuan fund, is now only planning to reinvest profits from that vehicle into its successor, according to people familiar with the talks.Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co., which invested $15 billion in the Vision Fund, is considering paring its future commitment to below $10 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified disclosing internal deliberations.The delay also adds another sour note to a medley of high-profile but frequently disappointing IPOs this year. The offering was expected to have been the biggest after Uber Technologies Inc.’s $8.1 billion listing, and ahead of the $2.3 billion offering by Uber’s ride-hailing rival Lyft Inc. Both of those stocks are down more than 20%, and software company Slack Technologies Inc. has fallen more than 30% from where it closed its first day of trading in June.WeWork has become an extreme example of the excesses afforded to technology entrepreneurs in the era of unicorns -- startups valued at $1 billion or more. Neumann was able to raise billions of dollars at astronomical valuations and spend freely, while retaining effective control over operations through special classes of stock.In an effort to keep its IPO on track, WeWork last week took steps to limit Neumann’s control of the company after an IPO, as well as other measures to improve its corporate governance.(Updates with details of staff webcast in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Scott Deveau, Ellen Huet, Sridhar Natarajan and Claire Boston.To contact the reporters on this story: Gillian Tan in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org;Liana Baker in New York at email@example.com;Michelle F. Davis in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Goldstein at email@example.com, Michael J. Moore, Steve DicksonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Uber Technologies Inc's move to lock out drivers at times and in areas of low demand comes just months after rival Lyft Inc implemented similar measures in response to city regulation. Both companies oppose the unprecedented rules, saying they will prevent drivers from earning money and cut off low-income New Yorkers in remote areas not serviced by regular taxis, a claim the city rejects. "Time and again we've seen Mayor (Bill) de Blasio's TLC pass arbitrary and politically-driven rules that have unintended consequences for drivers and riders," Uber said in a statement on Monday.
Shares of Uber and Lyft started the week in the green after a bullish call from HSBC. The firm upgraded both ride-hailing companies to “buy” on lower subsidies and potential product innovation, contending that “the price is right to take the ride.”
MoviePass had all the workings of a genius tech start-up but was unable to execute its business model effectively. What does this mean for other unprofitable public companies?
Today, CNBC reported that HSBC upgraded Lyft and Uber to “buy” ratings from “hold” ratings. Let’s see how both stocks have been trading since their IPOs.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The California Legislature has approved a bill to classify gig-economy workers as employees. The measure is a triumph for organized labor — but a costly blow to technology companies, consumers and, potentially, workers themselves. Before he signs the bill, California Governor Gavin Newsom should insist that all sides work to improve it.Under Assembly Bill 5, ride-hailing companies like Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., which classify their drivers as contractors, would be required to treat them as employees. On-demand workers would be entitled to benefits they currently lack, including overtime pay, sick leave and workers’ compensation insurance. The bill covers as many as 1 million Californians who work in the gig economy; if it goes into effect, other Democratic-controlled states, such as New York, are likely to follow with similar legislation.The potential costs are considerable. Reclassifying drivers and giving them full benefits would increase Uber’s labor costs by $500 million annually in California alone. Those costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers, in the form of higher prices. Innovation will suffer. Ride-hailing companies have also said they may impose caps on the number of drivers who use their apps and require them to work on scheduled shifts, which would harm service and limit who earns money from the platforms. (Officially, Uber denies the law applies to its drivers and plans to fight this out in court.)Proponents of California’s new regulations warn that without them, vast numbers of workers are at risk of being exploited, as more employers seek to shed costs by using contractors. Yet those fears are exaggerated. Over the past decade, the share of independent workers has declined slightly, to less than 7 percent. Most Uber and Lyft drivers rely on gigs not for their livelihoods but to supplement income from other jobs. And almost 8 in 10 independent workers say they prefer such arrangements to traditional employment.A legislative compromise — one that provides independent workers with basic protections and wage guarantees, but not the full suite of benefits that flow to employees — remains the best solution. In negotiations with state officials and union leaders, tech companies offered a guaranteed $21 hourly wage for drivers, as well as access to company-funded benefits and “sectoral” bargaining rights. In return, the industry lobbied against provisions in the bill that allow for prosecution of companies that fail to reclassify their workers. Although Newsom initially expressed support for such a deal, he backed away from it after the unions refused to go along.The governor should reconsider, and bring the parties back to the table before the legislation becomes law in January. Clarifying the status of gig-economy workers while providing them with an additional measure of security is in the interests of both companies and workers. The alternative is additional litigation, and possibly an industry-backed 2020 ballot initiative, which if anything will further muddle the issue.California’s ambitious governor has already missed one opportunity to forge a grand bargain on the gig economy. He shouldn’t waste this one too.\--Editors: Romesh Ratnesar, Timothy Lavin.To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg Opinion’s editorials: David Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org, .Editorials are written by the Bloomberg Opinion editorial board.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investing.com - Ride-hailing companies Uber (NYSE:UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT) surged in midday trading Monday after HSBC upgraded the companies to buy from hold, touting a 30% upside in both firms.
(Bloomberg) -- The We Co. roadshow is set to begin this week, perhaps as soon as today. Such corporate processionals through the ranks of blue-blooded Wall Street institutions are usually a triumph for buoyant, young companies. WeWork’s roadshow, on the other hand, will likely more closely resemble Cersei Lannister’s humiliating march to the Red Keep in Game of Thrones.Shame! WeWork’s valuation, $47 billion in a private funding round last January, could be set as low as $12 billion.Shame! Shame! Investors will no doubt be distrustful of any evidence of apparent self-dealing by the chief executive officer, Adam Neumann, such as buying properties and leasing them to the company. (WeWork took additional steps on Friday to change some of the unorthodox aspects of its governance structure and seek an independent board member.)As the nine-year-old office-sharing startup continues its stumble to the public markets, some prognosticators see this moment as something more significant: that a WeWork belly-flop portends the end of the unicorn era in Silicon Valley.The argument goes like this: SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate and its $100 billion Vision Fund, has become an engine pushing the technology market to its limit. If it’s forced to retreat on its $10 billion commitment to WeWork, SoftBank will reconsider the nearly blind sanguinity that has perverted incentives for founders and distorted valuations in the industry over the last few years.In this seductive vision of a calamitous—and cleansing—WeWork initial public offering, modesty will once again return to Silicon Valley; humbled venture capitalists will stop bidding the valuations of unprofitable startups into the stratosphere; and the unicorns—those magical startups worth a $1 billion or more—will be put out to pasture, their legendary horns clipped like the tusks of poached African elephants.But that’s probably wishful thinking.The current cycle in tech started more than a decade ago, fueled by excitement over the iPhone, Facebook Inc. and the infusions of cash from a new generation of VCs like Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator. Business cycles tend to last seven to 10 years in Silicon Valley, and the resulting boom should have ended by now. But that was before the longest bull market in American history and a seemingly never-ending supply of venture capital from an array of new sources, including wealthy Chinese investors and Saudi Arabian oil money.It doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. The stocks of Dropbox Inc., Lyft Inc., Slack Technologies Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. are all under their IPO prices. And yet, many investors still believe.Uber lost $5.2 billion last quarter, dismissed more than 800 employees in the last two months and lost a policy battle with California lawmakers last week that could rock its business model. Somehow, Uber is still worth a cool $57 billion. Meanwhile, SoftBank says it’s going to raise another Vision Fund, with contributions from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Foxconn—this one even larger than the last.The belief underlying the persistent tech boom is that savvy entrepreneurs in vast markets with access to enough capital can engineer their way through even the most challenging issues. Witness CloudFlare Inc., the unprofitable internet infrastructure company that raised $525 million last week at a higher-than expected market value of $4.4 billion. Investors were able to overlook recent controversies over unsavory former CloudFlare clients, like the forum where a mass shooter hung out, and the stock popped on the first day of trading.What will it take to really put an end to the unicorn era? Perhaps an economic recession and an accompanying withdrawal of overseas capital from the Valley. Perhaps it will take a total collapse of a once-promising unicorn to change the risk tolerance of conservative investors like endowments, pensions and sovereign wealth funds.If the WeWork IPO flops, technologists will try to dismiss it as an outlier, the bad fortune of a real estate startup that was never truly a tech company. It will be viewed not as an indictment of current excess in Silicon Valley but as an exception to it. That’s not realistic, but then again, neither are unicorns.This article also ran in Bloomberg Technology’s Fully Charged newsletter. Sign up here.And here’s what you need to know in global technology newsSpeaking of SoftBank, some of its other companies would be hit hard by California’s new labor bill that would force gig economy companies to hire their workers.Lawmakers are seeking information from customers of the Big Tech companies. A House panel investigating potential antitrust violations has contacted customers of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. They also asked the companies to hand over documents.Disney CEO Bob Iger left the board of Apple. The long-allied companies are now streaming rivals.Stanford University took money from Jeffrey Epstein, too. The school, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, received a $50,000 donation from a foundation backed by the late sex offender in 2004. Other donations to Harvard and MIT are prompting scrutiny of the schools and their faculties.A former Golden State Warrior is the U.S. face of Jumia, the Amazon.com of Africa.To contact the author of this story: Brad Stone in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
WeWork's rocky road to the public markets is indicative of what's going on in with problematic, overblown tech IPOs in general.
Presented by Winston & Strawn LLP and ICR Inc. While Wall Street groaned over the struggles of Uber Technologies, Inc., Lyft, Inc., and WeWork parent The We Company in recent months, a cousin of the traditional IPO has flourished, often delivering a healthy exit for private owners and strong aftermarket trading for public […]
An Uber driver in California is wasting no time seizing upon a new law passed by the state legislature Wednesday that could reclassify ride-hailing drivers from independent contractors to employees.
(Bloomberg) -- Facing the most serious threat yet to its business model, Uber Technologies Inc. is dusting off a legal argument it has employed with mixed results: that it’s a technology platform, not a transportation company.Now, as a new California law threatens to upend its source of cheap labor, Uber is pointing to the ways in which it has attempted to diversify — into food and freight delivery, for example — to put a polish on the argument that its drivers are still independent contractors peripheral to its higher mission.“Drivers’ work is outside the usual course of Uber’s business, which is serving as a technology platform for several different types of digital marketplaces,” Tony West, the company’s chief legal officer, said in an interview with reporters Wednesday.Uber has generated billions of dollars from the labor of its drivers without the expense of treating them as employees. California is poised to disrupt that business model, and the ride-hailing behemoth is gearing up for another legal fight.Under Assembly Bill 5, which has cleared both houses of the California Legislature, workers in the gig economy would be entitled to a minimum wage and workers compensation if their duties are in the usual course of a company’s business.The idea that drivers are not core to Uber’s business is one that elicits indignation from critics, but the company has long relied on a version of this argument in attempts to avoid treating drivers as employees. It lost one such ruling in 2016, when a U.K. judge batted down the claim with a very cheeky retort: “The lady doth protest too much.”Proponents say the California bill, which has the support of Governor Gavin Newsom, will bring a groundbreaking shift to finally give workers their due. Uber and its allies say that if the bill becomes law, it may not meaningfully change the business model because there are still questions about which workers qualify.“AB 5 doesn’t all of a sudden -- magic wand -- change everybody’s status to employee,” said West. Instead, new criteria would be used to determine whether workers are employees or contractors, he said. “Now, whether or not we win under that test in California remains to be seen.”Skeptics say Uber may be too optimistic. While it’s used arbitration, litigation and settlements to thwart drivers’ attempts so far to be classified as employees, AB 5 could pose a significant risk to the company, especially if similar measures are adopted in other parts of the U.S., legal experts, academics and financial analysts say.Uber is “whistling past the graveyard” if it underestimates how much AB 5 would favor drivers, said Jason Lohr, an employment lawyer in Uber’s hometown of San Francisco. Most of the state’s legal community expects the drivers would be considered employees, requiring Uber to provide worker-compensation insurance like any other employer, he said.“If Uber balks, it will be a bonanza for personal-injury attorneys because the company will be presumed negligent when a driver is injured -- and on the hook for attorney’s fees for failing to provide coverage,” Lohr said.Rising CostsIncreased labor costs will likely mean higher fares for riders, which could undermine the growth strategies for Uber and its chief rival, Lyft Inc., said Tom White, an analyst at D.A. Davidson in New York.“Some of the data we’ve seen suggests that in order for ride-sharing to be a suitable replacement for car ownership, prices have to come down, not go up,” White said. “That part of the story gets eroded somewhat if Uber is forced to increase prices in a material way.”Uber shares are down about 25% from an initial public offering in May, which valued the company at about $78 billion. The stock already reflects concern over the California law, which may face obstacles, including a ballot measure funded by Uber and other companies, White said.“The market generally anticipates there being a headline about AB 5 being signed,” White said. “But I think there’s still some question as to whether that necessarily means that it’s enforced before the two sides hash something out.”The governor’s office has helped facilitate discussions between unions and the companies about offering drivers certain benefits but not employee status. The talks, which have been ongoing since last year, haven’t resulted in a compromise. Without a breakthrough, Newsom’s support of the bill indicates it’ll be signed into law.As AB 5 gained support in Sacramento, Uber complained that other industries had successfully lobbied to have their workers exempted from the law, from hair stylists and travel agents to dog groomers and engineers.Gig-economy companies also protested a provision giving California’s attorney general or city attorneys the ability to prosecute companies and block their operations if they mis-classify employees as independent contractors.‘Weaponizes’ LawThe provision “effectively weaponizes” AB 5 and could result in technology companies being “arbitrarily targeted with lawsuits and injunctions,” Uber, Lyft and six other companies said in a letter to Newsom and lawmakers.If AB 5 is signed into law, as Uber expects, the company is prepared to return to a familiar venue -- the courtroom -- to make its point that its drivers are “independent individuals,” West said. Part of that legal argument, he said, is that Uber considers itself a technology platform, not a transportation company.Under the new law, for its drivers to be considered independent contractors, they must perform work “outside the usual course” of the company’s business. Uber’s biggest business is ride hailing, but it also has created platforms for restaurant-meal delivery and freight trucking, and the company is working on new services.Uber is “connecting individuals with a work opportunity,” West said. “When courts understand that, they realize that drivers are not involved in the usual core business of Uber -- because Uber is a technology company that operates a marketplace.”(Updates with Uber executive quote in the third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steve Stroth, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.