Lyft hires JP Morgan to lead IPO that could value company at more than $15 billion

  • Lyft has selected J.P. Morgan to lead its initial public offering, CNBC has learned.
  • Lyft could be valued at more than $15 billion in the public markets, according to a source familiar with the matter.
  • Uber, Lyft's main rival in the U.S., is planning to go public at around the same time as Lyft.
A driver with placards for both Lyft and Uber waits for a traffic light outside South Station in Boston after picking up a passenger.
Lane Turner | Boston Globe | Getty Images
A driver with placards for both Lyft and Uber waits for a traffic light outside South Station in Boston after picking up a passenger.

Lyft has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to lead its initial public offering, kicking off an IPO that's scheduled for early 2019, according to people familiar with the matter.

The second-largest U.S. ride-hailing company's valuation could top $15 billion in the public markets, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Lyft raised $600 million in Series I funding earlier this year, giving it a value of $15.1 billion. Credit Suisse and Jefferies are also involved as underwriters in a more junior capacity, the people said.

Lyft and its larger rival Uber both plan to go public next year. Banks have suggested to Uber that it could be valued at as much as $120 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. J.P. Morgan will not be a part of Uber's IPO after selecting to lead Lyft's offering, the person said. Lyft will likely go public before Uber, one of the people said.

Both Uber and Lyft have lost money for years as they've dueled for market share and disrupted taxis and car services with lower prices. The Journal reported earlier Tuesday that Lyft's third-quarter losses, which are not public, grew to $254 million from $195 million a year earlier. Still, revenue rose to $563 million from $300 million over the same period, according to the paper.

Lyft sales got a bump last year as Uber struggled with a "#deleteUber" campaign after a series of company scandals and missteps. Since then, Uber replaced founder and CEO Travis Kalanick with Dara Khosrowshahi, who has worked hard to restore Uber's public image.

Spokespeople for Lyft and J.P. Morgan declined to comment.