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Here Are the Big Winners Hitching a Ride on Lyft's IPO

Devon Pendleton and Tom Metcalf
Here Are the Big Winners Hitching a Ride on Lyft's IPO

(Bloomberg) -- A Japanese retail billionaire, rather than a Silicon Valley wunderkind, is poised to be the biggest beneficiary of Lyft Inc.’s impending initial public offering.

Hiroshi "Mickey" Mikitani’s e-commerce group Rakuten Inc. owns 13.1 percent of the ride-hailing company’s Class A shares, offering documents show. That would be worth about $2 billion if Lyft goes public with a valuation in the middle of its anticipated range of $20 billion to $25 billion, according to calculations by Bloomberg.

Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retailer, owns an eclectic assortment of side businesses including a professional baseball team and a bus service. It first invested in Lyft in 2015, acquiring an 11.9 percent stake for $300 million.

"We have seen the future and this is it," Mikitani, now 53, said at the time.

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, a Lyft investor since 2013, owns 6.3 percent of the Class A shares.

The stake held by Lyft’s actual wunderkinds, co-founders John Zimmer, 34, a former Lehman Brothers analyst, and Logan Green, 35, is relatively small after multiple dilutive funding rounds. Green, Lyft’s chief executive officer, and Zimmer, its president, hold shares probably worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to calculations by Bloomberg.

By contrast, Travis Kalanick, who helped launch rival Uber Technologies Inc., owns 7 percent of that business even after selling almost a third of his stake last year. He and fellow co-founder Garrett Camp are both billionaires, given Uber’s $72 billion private-market valuation.

It has already been a lucrative year for Rakuten founder Mikitani, Japan’s sixth-richest person with a $4.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth has climbed by $680 million in 2019, fueled by a 20 percent surge in Rakuten shares.

Rakuten also owns a stake in Middle East ride-hailing firm Careem, which is in advanced talks to be acquired by Uber in a potential $3 billion deal, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.

Lyft’s filing revealed some startling numbers for the startup. The company lost $911 million last year even as its revenues surged.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Credit Suisse Group AG and Jefferies Financial Group Inc. have taken the lead roles on the initial public offering.

(Corrects size of Lfyt’s loss in penultimate paragraph of story published March 2, 2019.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Devon Pendleton in New York at dpendleton@bloomberg.net;Tom Metcalf in London at tmetcalf7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at ppaulden@bloomberg.net

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