- Lyft is set to become the first ride-hailing company to go public, announcing Thursday it made a confidential filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering (IPO). Reuters reports that, depending on the SEC’s review, a public sale could happen as early as the first quarter of 2019.
- The number of shares or price has not yet been determined, the company said in a statement. In a private fundraising earlier this year, Lyft was valued at $15 billion, but Reuters reports the valuation is expected to be higher.
- The filing positions Lyft to go public before rival Uber, and will be closely watched as a marker for the value of mobility companies.
Uber and Lyft are expected to headline several potential Silicon Valley IPOs in 2019, which could also include companies Airbnb and Slack Technologies Inc. Although Lyft is much smaller than Uber, its filing could allow it to set the pace and offer a market signal of just how investors will treat mobility companies.
Lyft’s acquisition of Motivate, making it the world’s largest bike-share company, was a game-changer, enabling Lyft to branch from shared rides into bikes and dockless scooters, bringing in more customers and more value to the company. Already, Lyft has announced a $100 million investment to expand New York City’s Citi Bike network, one of Motivate’s top assets. Lyft has also used its more positive image to try to capitalize on Uber’s past scandals. The Wall Street Journal reports Lyft also plans to tell potential investors it does not have the same level of losses as Uber.
Uber was recently valued at $120 billion, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, and has logged some 10 times as many miles driven with passengers. Despite its losses, Uber’s global reach means it is widely expected to make a bigger sale than Lyft.
Still, with Lyft likely going first, its sale will be seen as a sign of the strength of tech firms in a turbulent stock market. With mobility firms expanding their reach but struggling to turn a profit, the public sales could offer a lifeline, and show how Wall Street views their financial strength.