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Investors hitch a ride on Lyft's IPO at $72 a share

30 March 2019

The ridesharing service ended its first day as a public company valued at more than $26 billion - that easily tops transportation industry stalwarts such as American Airlines and United Continental. "I think it's a good sign all the way around, if there's a successful IPO and others coming in the pipeline after that". That's significantly higher than its $15 billion estimated valuation as a private company. Uber is expected to make an even bigger splash when it completes its IPO later this year. Documents show revenues grew sharply from just $343 million in 2016, but losses widened as well.

The offering also fulfilled a key strategic goal for Lyft: beating larger rival Uber to the market.

The strong investor interest in Lyft bodes well for the likes of Uber Technologies and Pinterest, which are also planning to go public in 2019 but like Lyft have yet to turn a profi, Reuters noted. "The tech IPOs are really going to get the market moving".

One issue has been increased congestion: Schaller Consult estimated there are more than 10,000 taxis and ride-hailing vehicles on the road at the center of Manhattan each afternoon, two times the level in 2013. Investors who bought shares at the offering price have averaged a 22 percent gain over the past decade.

Lyft's market value now stands at $24 billion, which will quickly change Friday after the shares begin to trade.

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If you've already invested in Lyft's IPO and you're a Buffett follower, it's likely you won't want to hear what he said recently.

The underwriters for the offering are JPMorgan, Credit Suisse, Jefferies, UBS Investment Bank, Stifel, RBC Capital Markets, KeyBanc Capital Markets, Cowen, Raymond James, Canaccord Genuity, Evercore ISI, Piper Jaffray, JMP Securities, Wells Fargo Securities, KKR, Academy Securities, Blaylock Van, Penserra Securities, Siebert Cisneros Shank and Williams Capital Group.

Lyft said in filings that its total bookings reached US$8.1 billion a year ago, with 1.9 million drivers providing rides to nearly 31 million customers in the USA and Canada.

That growth helped offset concerns about losses among would-be investors, who packed into Manhattan's St Regis Hotel and the Olympic Club in San Francisco during the company's roadshow.

The Lyft app is seen on a passenger's phone.

Investors hitch a ride on Lyft's IPO at $72 a share