The Best Way to Play the Uber Bidding War

A fresh round of capital values the company at more than $18 billion pre-IPO. Here’s how common investors can still cash in.

Jun 8, 2014 at 8:30AM

Uberprivate

Believe it or not, Uber's nosebleed valuation holds benefits for some. Credit: Uber.

Forget about a $10 billion valuation. Uber, the disruptive private car service, just closed a $1.2 billion round of new funding at a breathtaking $18.2 billion valuation.

Others will debate whether that's a fair price. I'd much rather tell you how to cash in on Uber's bounty. The best way to play it? By investing in Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL)(NASDAQ:GOOG), which added to its sizable stake in Uber by joining a handful of others participating in this latest round.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that three the world's biggest money managers -- Fidelity, Wellington, and BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) -- combined to put $809 million into Uber. Google Ventures apparently split the remaining $391 million with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Menlo Ventures, and Summit Partners.

For Google, it's the second time the company has invested in Uber. Last summer the search king pledged $258 million at an estimated $3.76 billion post-money valuation, TechCrunch reports. Thus, it's entirely possible that Google is sitting on nearly $1 billion in Uber gains right now -- better than a four-bagger -- without the benefit of an IPO.

Talk about a huge win for David Krane and the Google Ventures team.

So where will this money show up? Under "non-marketable equity investments" on Google's balance sheet, which showed a $2.1 billion private equity portfolio as of March 31. I'd expect to see no less than $3 billion on that line when Google files its next 10-Q, probably toward the end of July. (Find all the company's SEC filings here.)

To be sure, Google isn't a cheap stock trading at close to 30 times trailing earnings. Yet this story has become about so much more than search. Between $56 billion in net cash and short-term investments, a fast-growing apps business, a disruptive Chromebook business, and a rapidly improving private equity portfolio, there's a lot for Google investors to like right now.

Leaked: Apple's next smart device (warning, it may shock you)
Where will the Uber app show up next? Apple recently recruited a secret-development "dream team" to guarantee its newest smart device was kept hidden from the public for as long as possible. But the secret is out, and some early viewers are claiming its everyday impact could trump the iPod, iPhone, and the iPad. In fact, ABI Research predicts 485 million of this type of device will be sold per year. But one small company makes Apple's gadget possible. And its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors. To be one of them, and see Apple's newest smart gizmo, just click here!

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google (A and C class) at the time of publication. Check out Tim's wWeb home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, BlackRock, and Google (A and C shares) and owns shares of Apple and Google (A and C class). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

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