Uber rival Lyft valued at $24.3bn as shares make debut

Lyft priced 32.5 million shares at the top of its $70-$72 per share target range ahead of the start of trading on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

That valued the firm at $24.3bn (£18.6bn).

It took more than two hours for the opening price to emerge as the initial public offering (IPO) – the largest market debut since Alibaba in 2014 and a first for a ride-hailing firm – sparked a FOMO (fear of missing out) rush of interest.

Analysts explained its growth potential was seen as outweighing the fact it remains heavily loss-making.

The shares also carry no voting rights.

But they rose to $87.24 dollars when the first trades were declared.

The number of shares sold was above its earlier estimates and it will give Uber encouragement as it prepares its own share debut, which is expected later this spring and could value the company at $100bn (£76.5bn) – reflecting its global scale.

Lyft’s prospectus claims to have 40% of the ride-hailing market in the US. It also operates in Canada.

The share sale gives it a war chest of over $2.3bn (£1.8bn) to fund expansion and investment as the sector moves towards an electric and self-driving future.

Lyft’s drive for innovation is being made through partnerships rather than its own research team.

Investors have been attracted by market forecasts of surging demand as private car sales come under pressure globally.

Lyft – founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer – reported revenue of over $2bn in 2018, though losses grew to $911m. Its drivers carried more than 30 million passengers.

There was a note of caution hanging over Lyft’s debut – with experts suggesting shares were likely to endure a rocky ride given the IPO was taking place at the top of the bull market.

Brian Hamilton, co-founder of data firm Sageworks, said of the flotation: “In a good market, people look beyond things.

“They don’t see the problems as much.”

Others said there was pent-up demand after a sluggish start to the year for flotations and a desire to diversify away from the so-called FAANG stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet.

2019-03-31T09:49:11+00:00By |

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