Uber files confidentially for IPO

Two days after Lyft submitted paperwork to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an early 2019 initial public offering, Uber has done the same, per The Wall Street Journal.

The company filed confidentially for an IPO on Friday, marking the beginning of a race for the two ride-hailing giants to the stock markets.

Uber’s most recent private market valuation was a whopping $72 billion, though the nearly 10-year-old business reportedly expects Wall Street to value it at as much as $120 billion in what will easily be one of the most highly-anticipated IPOs of the decade.

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Uber didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick, Uber has raised a total of nearly $20 billion in a combination of debt and equity funding, according to PitchBook. SoftBank alone has invested billions in the company to become its largest shareholder. Uber’s other key backers are Toyota, which invested $500 million just a few months ago, as well as late-stage investors T. Rowe Price, Fidelity and TPG Growth.

Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and others stand to earn big from Uber’s exit — all were participants in some of the company’s earliest venture capital rounds.

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The filing comes slightly earlier than expected. Uber’s current chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi previously said he expected the company to make the transition into a public company in mid-2019.

“[Uber] has all the disadvantage of being a public company, with the spotlight on us, with none of the advantages,” Khosrowshahi said on stage at the New York Times’ Dealbook conference in 2017. Surely Lyft’s IPO paperwork accelerated Uber’s timeline a bit.

Lyft, Uber’s largest competitor in the U.S., will likely take the plunge in the first quarter of 2019, too. The company was most recently valued at about $15 billion. Its IPO will be underwritten by JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Jeffries.

2019 will be a fascinating year for unicorn exits, with a separate report out today that Slack is prepping its IPO too and has hired Goldman Sachs to underwrite its offering.

Lyft files IPO documents with SEC

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