- With the opening of the stock markets Friday, Lyft officially became the first ride-hailing company to be publicly traded. The company is listed on the Nasdaq stock market under the ticker symbol LYFT.
- Lyft is valued at more than $24 billion, having priced its shares at $72 each. It has 32.5 million shares to sell, with an additional 4.8 million that could be purchased by its underwriters.
- Rival Uber is expected to make its own moves towards going public next month, when it is reportedly set to reveal its IPO prospectus.
Lyft’s listing on the stock market represents a major milestone not only for ride-hailing companies, but technology companies in general, as there are several expected to go public in 2019. In addition to Uber and Lyft, the likes of Pinterest and Slack are among the highest-profile companies also expected to join them on the stock market. If Lyft can attract more investors and maintain the enthusiasm that saw its IPO be oversubscribed, it could bode well for other technology companies.
But there are reasons for caution, especially as ride-hailing companies have suffered tremendous financial losses and have not yet shown how they will stop the bleeding. In its prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lyft noted its losses of $682.8 million, $688.3 million and $911.3 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. Uber has similarly struggled with massive losses, even as both have increased revenue and moved into new areas of mobility including dockless bikes and scooters, docked bikes and autonomous vehicle (AV) research and testing. In its prospectus, Lyft warns investors that it "may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability in the future."
As more cities examine the impacts of the growth of the gig economy and explore regulating it, Lyft also noted in its filing that it needs to “cost-effectively attract and retain qualified drivers,” and said if it fails to do so, its business could suffer. Perhaps as a path toward doing that, Lyft announced this month it would offer bonuses to its “most dedicated drivers,” and also allow them to use those bonuses to buy stock in the IPO. It also announced new "driver services" to help drivers save money. But with ride-hailing drivers on strike in Los Angeles to fight for higher wages, there is still a long way to go.
Today, we've got some announcements to share with the millions of drivers who turn to Lyft for flexibility and reliable earnings. We're rolling out Lyft Driver Services, a set of offerings designed to save you money and make the work of driving even better.— Lyft (@lyft) March 26, 2019