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Lyft denies it is for sale

by on25 October 2016

May go public “within a few years”

Lyft, the second largest ride sharing company in the US, has denied reports that it is for sale and says it has doubled its ridership in the region since late last year.

Earlier in June, the company hired Qatalyst Partners LP, an investment bank known for helping technology companies find buyers, to evaluate offers from potential acquirers. The company has in recent months made offers to sell itself to companies including General Motors, Apple, Google, Amazon, Uber and Didi Chuxing after being approached by interested parties, according to private discussions.

The most serious discussion so far has been with GM, which recently teamed up with Lyft to develop self-driving cars and invested $500 million into the ride sharing company. In August, however, it was reported that Lyft rebuffed the acquisition approach, meaning the two sides may have been too far apart on price for an official bid.

Speaking at the WSJDLive 2016 global technology conference, company co-founder and President John Zimmer said Lyft gave 17 million rides last October and hopes to triple its number of rides this year compared with those given in 2015.

As for money, he says the company has more than $1.3 billion in the bank left over from $2 billion in fundraising, and suggested that the company may go public “within a few years”.

“We’re in no rush to go public, we don’t need to,” said Mr. Zimmer. An IPO is “something we are likely to do in the future.”

Ride sharing companies like Lyft and Uber usually take 20 to 25 percent of the cost of each ride. Lyft drivers are expected to bring in around $2 billion in fares this year, while the company’s annual revenue is projected to be around $400 million, according to a person familiar with its financial affairs.

Often, however, the company lets drivers keep its share of each ride through cash rebate programs that are primarily focused on attracting new customers. The company also provides drivers with additional cash incentives to get on the road and start driving, which can cut into revenues and efforts to reach full profitability. Meanwhile, competitor Uber says it is profitable in the US, but not internationally.

Last modified on 26 October 2016
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