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Taxi race turns to Wall Street as Lyft, Uber shift to IPO mode

If everything goes as planned, some long-awaited IPOs from the ride-hailing sector will become a reality by next year. Though a lot has changed since Uber revolutionized point-to-point transportation in the US, the taxi-hailing pioneer is still doing the groundwork for public listing.

The last decade saw new players entering the market, betting big on online taxi service, among which Lyft stood out for its rapid growth giving stiff competition to Uber. In the last couple of years, Lyft nearly doubled its market share. After having announced the IPO plans several months ago, the company is all set to go public in the first quarter of 2019, beating Uber in all probability.

Lyft is all set to go public in the first quarter of 2019, beating overtaking Uber in all probability.

Since Uber is unlikely to postpone its IPO any further, after securing significant private funding over the years, the taxi war will soon be moving to the next level. While IPO was the top priority when Dara Khosrowshahi became Uber’s CEO last year, experts believe it would happen only in the second half of 2019. Both the companies had consciously delayed their go-public program, all along garnering significant valuation.

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Preparations are in full swing at Lyft, which has a new chief marketing officer on board. Joy Howard recently replaced Melissa Waters as the marketing chief. Lyft has already approached banks to underwrite its IPO, with some sources claiming the prospective lead underwriters could be either Credit Suisse or JPMorgan. Lyft stands to benefit on multiple fronts if it manages to go public first. Currently, the company is valued at about $15.1 billion.

However, investors already have enough material to compare it with Uber, which recently started releasing quarterly results to give the market a taste of what is in store. The IPOs, expected to be among the largest in recent times, could be an inspiration for the other app-based cab aggregators to follow suit.

Elsewhere, Alphabet’s (GOOG) self-driving initiative Waymo is ramping up its autonomous ride-hailing prowess to launch what is termed as the first robo-taxi in the US. The management, apparently buoyed by Waymo completing 10 million miles in real-world traffic on public roads, this week said initially the service will be launched in the Phoenix area.

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