Here comes $21 billion Lyft's IPO

  • Lyft, the first ride-hailing company to hit the public market, is set to begin trading Friday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. 
  • Lyft priced its initial public offering at $72 the evening prior, giving the company a valuation of around $21 billion.
  • Several Wall Street analysts are already bullish on the world's second-largest ride-share company.

Lyft, the first ride-hailing company to launch on a US public market, is set to begin trading on Friday morning under the ticker symbol "LYFT."

The company priced its initial public offering at $72 per share the evening prior, at the upper-end of its expected range, giving it a valuation of about $21 billion.

Lyft's offering itself is expected to raise around $2.69 billion, which it plans to spend on "working capital, operating expenses, and capital expenditures," as well as acquiring or investing in businesses, according to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange and Commission.

While potential investors will have a chance to buy into one of the largest US-listed technology intial public offerings in recent years, one thing they won't have is equal say in how the company is run.

That's because Lyft will have a dual-class structure, with Class A and Class B shares; shareholders in the former are entitled to one vote per share — for outside investors — while shareholders in the latter are entitled to 20 votes per share.

Still, investor appetite for Lyft's publicly traded shares has proved strong heading into its highly anticipated debut despite the company providing no clear timeline for reaching profitability.

Lyft earlier this week raised its expected IPO range from between $62 and $68 a share to $70 to $72 after its offering was oversubscribed. In other words, demand for its IPO exceeded the number of shares issued.

Read more:READY FOR LYFT OFF: Lyft to IPO today at whopping $21 billion valuation

In the race to go public during what's expected to be a banner year for high-profile IPOs — with Airbnb, Slack, and Peloton all expected to debut — Lyft is set to beat out rival Uber to the public markets.

"In our opinion while Lyft has clearly benefited from some of the negative PR issues that Uber faced in 2017/early 2018, going forward the battle for market share will be a bit more balanced," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to clients earlier this week.

Ives initiated coverage on the name with a "neutral" investment rating and a 12-month $80 price target.

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