Lyft is racing to go public before Uber

Cutting costs.
Cutting costs.
Image: Reuters/Steve Marcus
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Ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft are both expected to go public in 2019, and Lyft is racing to get there first.

The Wall Street Journal reported today (Oct. 16) that Lyft selected JPMorgan Chase to lead its offering along with Credit Suisse Group and Jeffries Group. Lyft is hoping the IPO will set its market capitalization above $15.1 billion, the valuation it last raised private funding at in June.

Uber, which is valued at around $70 billion by investors, originally said it planned to go public in the second half of 2019. But the Journal also reported today that Uber could complete an IPO worth up to $120 billion as soon as early next year. Uber received valuation proposals from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley last month, which often happens before a company officially hires a bank to underwrite its offering.

Lyft and Uber declined to comment.

Lyft is likely hoping to beat Uber to a public offering for fear that its larger competitor could sate the public markets’ appetite for ride-hailing. Lyft operates only in the US and almost exclusively provides car rides, though it recently moved into so-called micromobility with bikes and scooters.

Uber, on the other hand, has spread its ride-hailing bets across the globe. The company also has UberEats, a rapidly growing food delivery business that bankers reportedly think could be worth up to $20 billion on its own. The valuation targets for Uber from both Morgan Stanley and Goldman rely on its non-rides businesses, the Journal reported.

Were Uber to pull off an early 2019 IPO smoothly, it would be a huge victory for Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over as CEO in summer 2017 and promised to take it public by the end of 2019.