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Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc files for IPO

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(Reuters) - Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc beat bigger rival Uber Technologies UBER.UL in filing for an initial public offering that will test investor appetite for high-profile but loss-making technology companies.

The company, which was last valued at about $15 billion, did not specify the number of shares it was selling or the price range for the offering in a confidential filing with the SEC.

The IPO is slated for the first half of 2019, sources have told Reuters. Uber is expected to pursue an IPO next year that could value it at about $120 billion, while home-renting company Airbnb Inc, valued at $31 billion, is also expected to list itself in 2019.

High-profile tech unicorns dominated the U.S. IPO landscape this year. Dropbox Inc DBXC.O was valued at nearly $13 billion in its March debut, while music streaming giant Spotify (SPOT.N) went public in April with a $26.5 billion valuation.

But the recent turmoil in the financial markets due to escalating trade tensions between the United States and China could dampen investor enthusiasm for the much-awaited tech IPOs.

Uber and Lyft’s IPOs are widely seen as a litmus test for investor tolerance for lack of profitability when it comes to iconic technology unicorns.

The two companies have taken hits to their bottom lines in order to attract drivers and enter new markets, although they have made strides in recent years in narrowing their losses.

Lyft's IPO is expected to commence after the SEC completes its review process, it said here in a press release on Thursday.

Reuters reported in October that Lyft had chosen JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) and Jefferies (JEF.N) as underwriters for its IPO.

The company was set up in 2012 by technology entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green, three years after Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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