Lyft files for IPO, as ride-hailing firm hikes rivalry with Uber

Lloyd Doyle
December 8, 2018

The company was set up in 2012 by technology entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green, three years after Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber.

Lyft's confidential filing means the Securities and Exchange Commission can review the material and provide feedback before the company publicly files its S-1, which will likely include detailed financial information, risk factors and other material information for prospective investors.

Lyft raised enough capital to increase its valuation to $15.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported in June. It has been widely expected that both companies would raise funds by going public to fund expansion.

The San Francisco-based company is planning to float its shares in March or April, according to Reuters - probably ahead of Uber, whose chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) in the second half of the year. Uber is expected to pursue an IPO next year that could value it at about $120 billion, while home-renting company Airbnb Inc, valued at $31 billion, is also seen listing in 2019.

A provision included in an investment by SoftBank into Uber requires the company to file for an IPO by September 30 or the company risks allowing restrictions on shareholder stock transfers to expire. Yandex.Taxi, Russia's largest ride-hailing service part-owned by Uber, is also looking to list in 2019.

Earlier this year, Lyft said it had 35 per cent of the USA ride-hailing market.

The two companies have taken hits to their bottom lines in order to attract drivers and enter new markets, although they have made strides in recent years in narrowing their losses. "The good news for ride-sharing is that it's a market that has shown to be penetrable", said Jeff Zell, senior research analyst and partner at IPO Boutique in Florida. The companies have held out the promise of boosting profitability by eventually replacing human drivers with robots piloting autonomous vehicles, but a future of cities and suburbs criss-crossed by fleets of self-driving cars is years away, given the technical and regulatory challenges, particularly in the United States.

It remains the smaller company, with a limited worldwide presence.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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