Lyft Gives up Debut Gains on Second Day of Trading

April 1, 2019 Updated: April 1, 2019

Shares of Lyft Inc. crashed through the ride-hailing company’s initial public offering price on just their second day of trading, tumbling as much as 10.5 percent and matching the speed at which Facebook Inc. gave up its IPO price following its botched offering nearly seven years ago.

Lyft’s shares hit a session low of $69.12 on April 1, well below the company’s IPO price of $72.

On March 29, Lyft’s shares opened at $87.24, popping 21.1 percent in their debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange, but later pared gains to close up 8.74 percent at $78.29. That valued the company at $22.2 billion after its offering was 20 times oversubscribed, similar to other high-profile IPOs.

Lyft’s fast swoon was reminiscent of Facebook’s debut in May 2012.

After pricing at $38 a share, Facebook opened more than 10 percent above that at $42.05 and was up by as much as 18 percent at one point before fading fast and leaving the deal’s underwriters to frantically defend the IPO price into the close of that first day, which like Lyft’s was a March 29.

Come April 1, however, that support was nowhere to be found and it opened at $36.53 and would not regain its IPO price for 14 months.

Whether Lyft can deliver the turnaround Facebook managed is a top question for investors. After hitting a life-time low about three months after its IPO, Facebook shares have gained more than 800 percent to become the “F” in the vaunted FANG group of tech high flyers. It currently trades at $168.50.

Lyft reported a loss of $911 million in 2018, up from $688 million in 2017, despite revenue doubling in 2018 to $2.16 billion. The company has not laid out a timeline for when it will turn a profit.

Brokerage Guggenheim Securities started coverage on Lyft with a ‘neutral’ rating, saying there is a lack of visibility on the path to profitability.

Lyft, the first ride-hailing company to go public, had a market share of 39 percent in the United States, as of 2018.

Lyft, considered a unicorn as it was a startup valued at least $1 billion before it made its market debut, was last trading down 9.7 percent at $70.70, still slightly off its IPO price on April 1.

By Aparajita Saxena

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