Lyft Inc., the second largest U.S riding service company, is close to hiring an initial public offering (IPO) advisory firm. Hiring an advisory firm is the initial step for Lyft becoming a publicly listed company. An IPO offers Lyft access to capital beyond its traditional route of private investments. The company has also been in discussions this month with Google (GOOGL.O), whos is owner Alphabet Inc., about securing an investment.
Lyft’s is now not only competing with Uber Technologies as a ride service company, but now they are both in the race of who can become publicly listed first. In August, Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi reported a tentative timeline for Uber’s IPO of between 18 and 36 months due to the scandals the company is currently recovering from.
The IPO advisory firm is to assist Lyft’s management select underwriters and plan the offering. It has been said that this offering can come as early as next year. Interviews for IPO advisory firms have already been conducted and Lyft is expected to make a decision shortly, according to sources.
Lyft declined to comment.
Many top investment banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) already lenders to rival Uber. Finding and underwriter for the IPO may pose a dilemma for Lyft being that banks can find themselves unable to be a part of a larger IPO by Uber in the future.
Lyft, founded in 2012, a mobile app that allows passengers to request rides on their smartphones. Lyft was created three years after Uber by entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green.
Lyft is available in 40 states and to 94 percent of the U.S. population. Unlike Uber, Lyft’s service only available in the United States. Uber continues to expand despite a sequence of obstacles which included accusations of sexual harassment, videos CEO’s scolding drivers, and a lawsuit from Alphabet’s self-driving car unit accusing Uber of stealing property.
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In April, Lyft was valued at $7.5 billion. This $7.5 billion valuation was up from $5.5 billion from the previous year. Uber, valued at $68 billion in its last funding round, remains the largest private company supported by venture capitalists in the world.Companies in the technology sector have chosen to remain private due to of concerns that an IPO can bring on a decreased valuation than the previous fundraising round.
Snapchat’s $3.4 billion IPO earlier this year was the largest by a U.S. technology company in three years. Shares have since disappointed investors and quarterly earnings have fallen short of the expectations.