Lyft files for stock IPO

Irving Hamilton
December 8, 2018

The company said it has not yet determined the number of shares to be offered or the price range for the IPO.

The filing, announced by Lyft Thursday, is expected to become publicly available early next year, a few weeks before Lyft's investment banks price the shares after gauging investor demand.

However, sources told Reuters that the IPO would take place in the first half of next year.

Investors fear that stock market weakness could result in reduced interest in their road shows or fail to fetch them a reasonable valuation.

Lyft's main rival, Uber, is also expected to float next year.

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.

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Uber and Lyft drivers in New York City are getting a pay increase after the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission set a $17 minimum wage for rideshare drivers, a move which could drive up prices for passengers; Burger King is offering penny Whoppers through the BK app for customers but they have to be within 600 feet of a McDonald's to get the deal. They have also invested in rival electric scooter services.

Lyft, founded in 2012, has been building up its executive ranks.

High-profile tech unicorns such as Dropbox Inc and Spotify dominated the U.S. IPO landscape this year, but the recent turmoil in financial markets due to escalating trade tensions between the United States and China could dampen enthusiasm for offerings from Lyft and Uber.

Jeff Zell, an analyst at advisory firm IPO Boutique in Florida, said: "With autonomous cars on the horizon, it is anyone's guess where this sector goes in the future".

It remains the smaller company, with a limited global presence. Its investors include General Motors Corp, which holds a 9 per cent stake in Lyft that it acquired for $500 million in 2016, but GM has wound down its co-operation with Lyft, choosing instead to acquire the autonomous vehicle company Cruise. Uber acquired bike-sharing company Jump Bikes earlier this year. Both companies face legal battles with drivers over their classification.

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