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Lyft Inc. is seeking to raise as much as $2.1 billion in its initial public offering, valuing the firm at almost $20 billion.

The No. 2 U.S. ride-hailing giant is offering 30.8 million shares at $62 to $68 each, it said in a regulatory filing Monday. At the top of that range and including a potential over-allotment of shares to investors the market valuation would reach $19.6 billion, based on the total numbers of shares outstanding after the IPO as detailed in the filing.

At the targeted range, the San Francisco-based company's offering would be the biggest from a tech upstart since Snap Inc. went public two years ago, and the largest in the U.S. so far this year after the partial U.S. government shutdown put a damper on first-quarter listings.

The filing, an updated prospectus, coincided with the start of the company's so-called road show, a two-week run of meetings during which Lyft executives and advisers will try to persuade prospective investors to grab a piece of what will probably be one of the year's biggest public offerings -- at least until Lyft's ride-hailing rival, Uber Technologies Inc., proceeds with its own offering, which it plans to do next month.

The shares are set to price on March 28 and start trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market the following day under the symbol "LYFT."

Including some restricted equity units for employees and others that aren't yet fully available to them, Lyft's valuation could reach as much as $23.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lyft had earlier been aiming for a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion.

The filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission puts Lyft further ahead in its race to go public with Uber, the world's biggest ride-hailing company. Smaller startups including Postmates Inc. and Slack Technologies Inc. are also considering going public in what's shaping up to be a burst of tech listings this year.

Italian payments firm Nexi SpA is planning to raise as much as $3.1 billion on the Milan stock exchange next month, according to people familiar with the matter, in an offering expected to be the world's biggest so far this year. Though the amount raised is likely to be higher than Lyft, the ultimate valuation of Nexi will be much lower: The listing could give the company an enterprise value of almost $8 billion, the people said.

Uber's listing is expected to be the biggest of the year, and could value the company at as much as $120 billion, people familiar with its plans have said previously. That would also likely make its offering one of the top five of all time.

Lyft released financial details about the company for the first time this month, reporting $2.2 billion in revenue last year, more than double its $1.1 billion in revenue in 2017, but also $911 million in losses. Lyft has lost nearly $3 billion since 2012, but has brought in more than $5 billion in venture capital.

The company's executives warned that the company could struggle to turn a profit, despite a rapidly growing market share.

The company's share of the U.S. ride-hailing market was 39 percent in December 2018, up from 22 percent in December 2016, according to its filing. The $2.2 billion in revenue for 2018 was about double what it brought in the previous year.

Bookings, which represent Lyft's fares after subtracting taxes, tolls and tips, have been rising dramatically -- a trend that the company intends to highlight to potential investors. Lyft's bookings surpassed $8 billion last year, 76 percent more than in 2017 and more than four times the number from 2016.

Lyft's recent market-share gains came as Uber was dogged by reports that drivers accosted passengers and that the company tolerated rampant sexual harassment internally. Those problems ultimately led its co-founder Travis Kalanick to resign. Uber has been working to repair its image under CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

While Uber is pursuing food and freight delivery, scooters, electric bikes and even flying cars, Lyft remains focused on transportation, including bikes and scooters. Lyft warned in its filing that expenses are likely to increase and that it may not be able to "achieve or maintain profitability in the future."

The new filing spells out how much of Lyft will be controlled by co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer once the company is public. The two will be issued Class B shares, which will equal the voting rights of 20 ordinary shares. They will hold a combined 49 percent of voting power after the offering, with Green holding 29.31 percent and Zimmer holding 19.45 percent, the filing shows.

The offering is being led by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Financial Group Inc., with more than two dozen other banks participating.

Information for this article was contributed Eric Newcomer and Olivia Zaleski of Bloomberg News, by Michael J. de la Merced and Kate Conger of The New York Times, and by The Associated Press.

Business on 03/19/2019

Print Headline: Lyft's initial public offering aiming for $19.6B valuation

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