Lyft files paperwork to prepare for IPO

Lyft has become the first major ride-hailing company to file to go public, beating rival Uber. The firm has filed a confidential draft registration statement with regulators ahead of an IPO, which is expected to happen in early 2019.

The company has submitted a statement to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the first step towards becoming a publicly-traded firm on the US stock markets. Once the SEC completes its review of the filing, more details including an initial number of shares, pricing and targeted valuation are likely to become public. Lyft was most recently valued at $15bn (£11.7bn), and an IPO is likely to drive that price even higher.

While Uber is also thought to be targeting 2019 for an IPO, the filing gives Lyft a considerable head start against its rival when it comes to reaching that target first. Lyft first began sourcing banks to help with the ICO in October; Credit Suisse were chosen to assist with the public offering, and JPMorgan and Jefferies also thought to be involved.

Lyft currently has a 35 per cent market share in the US, and is branching out beyond traditional ride-hailing, having recently acquired bike share operator Motivate. However, it is dwarfed by Uber, which is reportedly targeting a valuation of $120bn for its IPO, and which has been self-reporting quarterly financial statements to drum up interest among investors.

Uber’s IPO has likely been delayed by its past few years of controversy, which have seen it dealing with the departure of embattled former CEO Travis Kalanick and a data breach that was covered up by the company. During this time, the platform lost a number of users to Lyft, which greatly benefitted from its comparatively drama-free image.