Lyft has arrived.
The ride-hailing company went public Friday, surging 20 percent above its initial offering price of $72. The shares traded in the $80 to $88 range for most of the session, with more than 19 million shares traded as of noon Friday.
Market watchers are largely encouraged by Lyft’s successful opening, as it marks the first of several handful highly anticipated big tech IPOs this year, but some worry about its competitive positioning.
Here are three Wall Street experts’ takes on Lyft’s IPO:
Josh Brown, co-founder and CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management and a CNBC contributor, called the stock’s opening action “fantastic,” though he wasn’t exactly a buyer:
“I just love that I’m talking to young investors now and they are excited about stocks, and this is part of the reason. They know this company. They use it. It’s actually friendlier to the younger generation than Uber is in terms of pricing and some of the various ways in which the app works. So I’m really, really glad that this went off without a hitch and that it’s being supported in the aftermarket. Now, does that mean you want to invest in it? No, I don’t. I think it’s a taxi company.”
Roger McNamee, co-founder of Elevation Partners, harbored concerns about the prospect of a publicly traded Uber, which is also expected to go public in 2019:
“This is a fantastic deal for the Lyft management team and for the early investors. I think for the public market buyer coming in today, this is going to be a lot dicier, and because it’s the first one out, it’s not crazy to imagine the stock does well initially, but in the long run, they have this fundamental problem. It’s not a profitable business today and they have a really well-financed, much larger competitor. And the two of them, I think, are just going to have to slug it out until one of them either runs out of cash or the two of them merge.”
Business Insider founder and CEO Henry Blodget addressed worries around Lyft’s valuation, which is currently hovering around $25 billion:
“The big issue is valuation, how much it’s worth. People have been wrong about these companies from day one. So many people saying, ‘Oh, Uber’s such a stupid idea, the valuation’s ridiculous, Lyft can never make it work because it’s a network game, there’s only going to be one’ – all those folks, entirely wrong. All the metrics here, with the exception of the bottom line, look great. They’re improving on all of them. But, at $88, if that’s where it opens, you’re looking at a stock that’s trading at about 10 times this year’s revenue with a margin structure that is nothing like Facebook or Microsoft or a lot of other tech companies. Probably is at 50 percent gross margin at best. So you have to worry about that multiple.”