Tim Mullaney: The Uber IPO question: Which promises do you buy?

There are so many confounding things about the initial public offering of Uber Technologies, set to price Thursday.

The sheer size of the deal, at $8.9 billion in funds raised if the new shares sell for $47 each, bigger than just about any venture-capital-backed deal other than Facebook FB, -0.71% or Alibaba BABA, -1.56%

The nearly $90 billion valuation bends the mind, even with the company’s $11.3 billion in 2018 sales.

The audacity it takes to put such a valuation on the company when growth is slowing by some metrics, and it likely won’t turn a profit until 2023.

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