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Uber files for an IPO possibly worth $120 billion

It may be one of the largest tech IPOs ever.

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi got the job in September 2017.

James Martin/CNET

Uber, the highest valued private company in the world, just filed to go public.

The San Francisco-based ride-hailing company filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday for its initial public offering. It reportedly plans to sell about $10 billion worth of stock, which would make it one of the largest US tech IPOs ever coming in at an anticipated $120 billion.

Uber will list on the New York Stock Exchange using the ticker symbol UBER. Its IPO could come as soon as early May.

The company reported revenue of $11.3 billion in 2018 on $49.8 billion in bookings. That's up 42 percent in revenue from 2017. The company's hallmark service, ride-hailing, generated the lion's share of its revenue, raking in $9.2 billion in 2018. However, it also lost $1.8 billion in 2018, as measured by EBITDA, a profitability metric. That's down from a loss of $2.6 billion in 2017.

"We expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in the foreseeable future, and we may not achieve profitability," Uber said in its filing.

The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

When private companies go public it gives people a chance to learn more about previously undisclosed internal workings. In its filing, Uber said it has operations in 63 countries and in more than 700 cities on six continents. More than 91 million people use one of its services, which includes food delivery, at least once a month, the company said. Its drivers reportedly complete 14 million trips every day. 

Uber is also showcasing itself as a full transportation company that has on-demand bikes and scooters, food delivery and self-driving cars. 

Uber's had its fair share of scandals over the years, which came to a head in June 2017 when its co-founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick resigned. Current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi got the job in September of that year, pledging to take the company in a better direction. In its filing, Uber reiterates this vow.

"We are on a new path forward ... following many challenges regarding our culture, workplace practices, and reputation," the filing reads. "It is a new day at Uber."

Rival ride-hailing company Lyft made a strong stock market debut last month, but has faltered some since then. Shares were trading around $61 on Thursday, well below their $72 IPO price. 

Lyft was the first of many expected public offerings this year. If all goes as planned, 2019 will be the year of the tech IPO. Along with Uber and Lyft, other Silicon Valley companies expected to go public are Airbnb, Pinterest, Slack and Palantir.