Lyft's financials show a $911 million loss ahead of its IPO

  • In Lyft's long-awaited IPO prospectus, the Uber archrival says its share of the market has grown to 39 percent.
  • Lyft is likely to be among the first of a hefty class of 2019 public offerings.
  • Lyft announced in December it had confidentially filed for an IPO, but declined to add financial specifics then.
  • Reuters reported earlier that Lyft expects to be valued between $20 billion and $25 billion in its IPO.

Lyft released its long-awaited IPO prospectus Friday, revealing that the Uber archrival lost $911 million on $2.1 billion in revenue last year. The No. 2 ride-hailing company, however, expects sales to grow faster than losses, and it posted a growing share of the market.

Lyft is likely to be among the first of a hefty class of 2019 public offerings. The company, which has been racing against Uber to the IPO market, is seeking to go public on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol LYFT.

The company has been clawing market share from industry leader Uber, according to the filing. Lyft claimed 39 percent of the U.S. market at the end 2018, up 17 percentage points over two years.

Here's how the company said it did in 2018:

  • Net loss: $911 million, an increase of 32 percent from 2017
  • Revenue: $2.2 billion, double the revenue it saw in 2017
  • Bookings: $8.1 billion, an increase of 76 percent from 2017

Lyft didn't specify the amount it hopes to raise in the public offering, instead opting for a placeholder amount of $100 million.

Reuters reported earlier that Lyft expects to be valued between $20 billion and $25 billion in its IPO. Uber, which has been releasing unaudited financials for several quarters, was said to seek valuation as high as $120 billion for its upcoming IPO, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Lyft has seen strong growth in both active riders — the number of users who take at least one ride per quarter — and total rides per quarter.

Average revenue per active user has grown at a less consistent pace, reflecting pricing experiments. Lyft frequently offers discounts to customers who have fallen off from regular use, and recently introduced a membership service.

Japanese ad-tech company Rakuten stands to see the largest windfall from a successful IPO. The company owns 13 percent of Lyft, followed by General Motors' 7.8 percent stake and Fidelity's 7.7 percent. Venture firm Andreessen Horowitz owns 6.3 percent, and Alphabet owns 5.3 percent.

Co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer will maintain a "concentrated control" of voting shares through a dual-class system, according to the filing. The prospectus doesn't specify what percentage of the voting class Green and Zimmer will own, but a person familiar with the plans told CNBC their combined stakes would constitute less than 50 percent of the voting power.

The company's drivers will also stand to benefit. Lyft drivers who are "in good standing" will be granted a one-time cash bonus of $1,000 to $10,000 depending on how many rides they've completed. The drivers can choose to use that bonus to purchase shares in the company through a directed share program.

Lyft has been named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 List three times, ranking fifth on the 2018 list.

J.P. Morgan, Credit Suisse and Jefferies are the lead underwriters of the offering.

Clarification: This story has been updated to remove an incorrect time span for Lyft's bookings. The $8.1 billion in bookings was for 2018.

—CNBC's Deirdre Bosa contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.