Coverage: Lyft sets the stage for a 2019 IPO
Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. beat bigger rival Uber Technologies Inc. in filing for an initial public offering on Thursday, defying the recent market jitters and taking the lead on a string of billion-dollar-plus tech companies expected to join Wall Street next year.
Joshua Franklin and Heather Somerville of Reuters have the news:
Lyft’s IPO will test investors’ appetite for the most highly valued Silicon Valley companies and for the ride-hailing business, which has become a wildly popular service but remains unprofitable and has an uncertain future with the advance of self-driving cars.
San Francisco-based Lyft, last valued at about $15 billion in a private fundraising round, did not specify the number of shares it was selling or the price range in a confidential filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Lyft could go public as early as the first quarter of 2019, based on how quickly the SEC reviews its filing, people familiar with the matter said. Lyft’s valuation is likely to end up between $20 billion and $30 billion, one source added.
The ride service was set up in 2012 by entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green and has raised close to $5 billion from investors. While it continues to grow faster than its larger competitor, Uber, it is also losing money.
Megan Rose Dickey of TechCrunch reported that the timing of the offering is unclear:
However, the exact timing of the offering is unclear.
In a confidential filing with the SEC, Lyft did not state the number of shares it expects to offer, nor the price range. But Lyft says it expects to make its initial public offering after the SEC finishes its review process.
Lyft was last valued at about $15 billion, while competitor Uber is valued north of $100 billion.Uber, of course, is also expected to go public sometime next year. According to Reuters, Lyft’s IPO will happen during the first half of 2019 and be underwritten by JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Jeffries.
Michael Liedtke of the Associated Press reported that Lyft has been gaining market share on Uber:
Getting a head start with its IPO will allow give Lyft a “first-mover advantage” over Uber and help steer investor expectations about the growth and moneymaking potential of ride-hailing services, said Rohit Kulkarni, managing director of SharesPost, which focuses on privately held companies going public.
Although Lyft still ranks a distant second, it has been gaining market share during the past two years as Uber faced a backlash following revelations of rampant sexual harassment within its ranks , a cover-up of a major computer break-in , allegations of high-tech thievery and a fatal collision involving one of its robotic cars.
The IPO is likely to generate a buzz that could attract more attention to Lyft, and make more people aware that it’s a viable alternative to Uber.