Lyft is close to hiring an initial public offering (IPO) advisory firm, in the first concrete step by the second biggest U.S. ride service company to become publicly listed, according to people familiar with the matter.
Lyft's IPO preparations come as its larger competitor, Uber Technologies, is attempting to recover from a range of scandals. In August, Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi set a new tentative timeline for Uber's IPO of between 18 and 36 months.
An IPO would offer Lyft access to capital beyond its traditional route of private investments. The San Francisco-based company has been in discussions this month with Google owner Alphabet about securing an investment, Reuters has reported.
The IPO advisory firm will help Lyft's management select underwriters and plan the offering, which could come as early as next year, the sources said this week, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. The timing of the plans could still change, the sources added.
The ride-hailing company has already finished the interviews for picking the IPO advisory firm and is expected to make a decision shortly, the sources said. IPO advisory firms work independently from the investment banks and do not sell shares in an IPO.
Lyft declined to comment.
Top investment banks face a dilemma with regards to whether they should be underwriters on Lyft's IPO, since many of them, such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, are already lenders to its chief rival Uber. A bank that aligns itself with Lyft could potentially find itself shut out from a much larger IPO by Uber down the road.