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Uber, the Mother of All Unicorns, Will Finally Begin Its IPO Process in April, Report Says

Uber is planning to begin its long-delayed IPO process in April, Reuters reported Thursday. The offering, which could value the company at $120 billion—the largest of several tech IPOs in 2019—will probably start after the stock of Lyft, its chief rival, has already debuted.

Uber is planning to file its S-1 prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Commission in April and begin its investor roadshow shortly thereafter, Reuters said, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. Lyft filed its own prospectus on March 1 and is expected to debut in the public stock market later this month.

Lyft and Uber are not only competing for customers but, in the close timing of their respective IPOs, for investor dollars as well. Typically, being first out the IPO gate gives a competitive advantage, especially when investors are eager to gain exposure in a new, growing industry. In the case of Uber and Lyft, however, many large institutional investors already have access to the companies through participation in private rounds of investment.

Under the leadership of founder Travis Kalanick, Uber was reluctant to go public because of the high underwriting costs and financial scrutiny involved in the process. Kalanick resigned as CEO under pressure in June 2017 after a series of scandals and controversies involving Uber’s aggressive corporate culture.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s current CEO, has been focused on cleaning up the company’s financials ahead of an IPO. Uber reportedly saw $11.3 billion in revenue last year and a loss of $3.3 billion. Lyft, by contrast, said in its prospectus that its 2018 revenue totaled $2.2 billion and a loss of $911 million, which according to Axios would be the largest loss ever for a company entering the public markets for the first time.

While Uber was valued at $72 billion a year ago, the company is said to be hoping for a market cap of $120 after its IPO. Reuters said some analysts expect its market cap to be closer to $100 billion based on the company’s recent financials. Lyft, meanwhile, is looking for a market valuation between $20 billion and $25 billion after being valued at $15 billion in its most recent private funding.