Lyft keeps ahead of Uber in race to IPO
Lyft has filed confidential paper- work for an initial public offering, a key step that keeps the ride-hailing firm on pace to hit the public market early next year.
Lyft’s planned IPO is one of the most anticipated Silicon Valley debuts in recent years. The filing, which was expected, would suggest Lyft remains a step ahead of rival Uber Technologies as both work towards IPOs next year.
Lyft is aiming to debut in March or April, sources say. By filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission now, the company should have enough time to answer questions from the agency and keep to its schedule.
Lyft, which is much smaller than Uber, is widely expected to beat its ride-hailing rival to a listing, and in doing so would afford public investors their first opportunity to buy into the fast-growing industry.
The IPO will be a test of how such investors value the industry’s players. Uber, Lyft and a host of other ride-hailing firms have received cash from private investors at high valuations, but still need more capital as they continue to generate big losses.
After a blockbuster year for IPOs, 2019 could present a strong encore, with big names like Lyft, Uber, Slack Technologies and potentially Airbnb and Palantir Technologies making debuts. Recent volatility in the stockmarket might prompt some companies to go public sooner than expected to beat a further downturn. But if one comes quickly, it could also force companies to shelve their plans.
Meanwhile, Uber has received proposals from bankers that value it as high as $US120 billion ($166bn). Companies often consider such proposals before hiring IPO underwriters.
Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi has said the company would aim to go public in the second half of 2019. But the IPO could come sooner, as Uber looks to tap a robust market.
Uber’s pitch to investors will likely seek to distinguish the company from Lyft by emphasising its global reach and the platform nature of the business, sources say. Mr Khosrowshahi has pointed to the Uber Eats food-delivery service as a prime example of how Uber can use its existing network to rapidly build up ancillary businesses.
By contrast, Lyft is expected to point out that its business, which operates mostly in the US and Canada, doesn’t have the same giant losses as Uber.