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Uber-rival Lyft plans to raise up to US$1b in new funds

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Ride-hailing company Lyft plans to raise as much as US$1 billion in new funds, according to a Delaware state filing, in a round of financing analysts said could sharply boost the valuation of Uber Technologies Inc.'s largest US rival.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Ride-hailing company Lyft plans to raise as much as US$1 billion in new funds, according to a Delaware state filing, in a round of financing analysts said could sharply boost the valuation of Uber Technologies Inc.'s largest US rival.

Lyft didn't indicate in the Friday evening filing how much had been raised, who was investing in the round or list a valuation. Sven Weber, a financial filings expert, pegged the pre-money valuation at about US$4.5 billion while Justin Byers at VC Experts estimates it closer to US$3.9 billion. Lyft was valued at US$2.5 billion when it announced a previous funding round in March.

The latest fundraising round contained some downside protection for new investors, including the provision of extra shares should Lyft go public at a lower valuation.

"This is a very modest ratchet function," said Mr Weber, President of the SharesPost 100 Fund. "It's not outrageous." Fierce Fight Fundraising documents prepared by Credit Suisse Group AG showed the company had been in talks to raise US$500 million, Bloomberg reported last month.

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A spokeswoman for Lyft declined to comment.

The price of the startup's common stock is now US$26.79, according to the filing. That's up from US$19.44 previously, Mr Byers said.

Lyft is competing aggressively with Uber, which recently filed to raise US$2.1 billion at a US$62.5 billion valuation. The discrepancies in the valuations reflect Uber's pole position in the US and its global ambitions.

Lyft lost US$127 million in the first half of 2015 on US$46.7 million in revenue, according to fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg. It said last month it has gained market share in key markets such as San Francisco, and has a gross revenue "run rate" of US$1 billion.

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