Lyft Prices IPO

Many thought Lyft Inc., long the ride-hailing underdog, was doomed as it battled a cutthroat rival in an industry where the winner would take all. Now it’s a Wall Street darling valued at $24 billion.

For much of the past decade—one in which ride hailing grew from nothing into an indelible part of transportation—Lyft played the part of an also-ran to Uber Technologies Inc. It was subject to a series of aggressive tactics by Uber, which tried to corner the capital markets and make it difficult for competitors to land cash to fuel their growth.

Inside Uber, then-Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and top executives including business chief Emil Michael said their objective was to far outraise any competitor. “There are going to be competitors. And we will kill them,” Mr. Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder, said in a 2011 podcast interview.

But Lyft didn’t die. Instead, the company with the hot-pink logo will beat Uber to the public markets Friday after pricing its IPO Thursday at $72 a share, raising $2.34 billion. Investors hungry for its shares far outnumbered the amount available in the IPO. At its IPO price, Lyft has a market capitalization around $20.5 billion, according to a Dealogic share count before the deal priced, and a valuation on a fully diluted basis of $24.4 billion.

“Now that ride sharing has become more mainstream, we believe that users are increasingly choosing a platform based on brand affinity and value alignment,” John McNeil, Lyft’s COO, said in a promotional video released this month for the company’s investor roadshow ahead of the IPO. “Our values, brand, innovation and focused exertion have driven significant growth in market share and in the number of users on our platform.” With billions more raised from the public offering, Lyft can work to continue chipping away at Uber’s lead in the market.

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz