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Yes, Uber Lost a Lot of Money. (And It Will Lose More.)

It's not all bad news for Uber.

Tom Saga/Shutterstock

Leaked Uber financials from 2012 to 2014 show that the company lost a ton of money during those years.

That’s no surprise: Another set of leaked numbers, published earlier this year by Bloomberg, showed the company had losses of $470 million on sales of $415 million. And its losses are likely to keep growing, as it expands further in China, a market it entered in late 2013.

Re/code has independently confirmed the authenticity of today’s numbers, which first appeared on Gawker.

And yes: Young private companies routinely spend more than they’re bringing in as they establish their brands and build out new markets. Investors are usually fine with it, up to a point.

Or, in the words of an Uber rep who spoke to Re/code today: “Shock, horror, Uber makes a loss. This is hardly news and old news at that. The case of business 101: You raise money, you invest money, you grow (hopefully), you make a profit and that generates a return for investors.”

Uber in particular dumps a lot of cash: It subsidizes rides for passengers and offers huge signing bonuses for new drivers in order to build up both sides of its marketplace.

“Of course they’ll lose money if they’re investing aggressively to build out in China or new markets like Albuquerque,” RBC Capital Markets’ analyst Mark Mahaney said. “What really matters is: What’s their profitability in some of their oldest markets? I bet if they would go public they’d talk about their profitability in their lead markets just like OpenTable did and Netflix does.”

In other words, what the leaked numbers don’t show you is how Uber is faring in established locations like San Francisco, but we don’t know because those numbers haven’t been leaked. They’re the missing context from the revealed financial documents. Another concern would be if growth plateaus in these markets.

The Gawker documents also show that Uber was growing quickly between 2012 and 2014 — once again surprising no one. Its net revenue from the second quarter of 2014 was 57 million, almost triple its net revenue from the same quarter of 2013. If its revenue at least stayed flat or grew for the rest of 2014, then it brought in more than $200 million that year.

One number of note: Uber has been putting a big chunk of change into general and administrative costs — $59 million in the second quarter of 2014 alone. Those are likely the result of legal costs the company generated by fighting regulatory battles across the world, from worker classification lawsuits in California to lobbying against Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York.

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