- Lyft shares fell nearly 8% on Wednesday after the ride-hailing company reported quarterly earnings for the first time as a public company the evening prior.
- Lyft did not break out gross bookings data in its earnings report, which disappointed analysts looking for further detail on Lyft’s growth.
- Uber, Lyft’s biggest rival, is expected to price its IPO Thursday and begin trading Friday.
- Watch Lyft trade live.
While Lyft handily topped Wall Street’s expectations for its first-quarter sales figures and its sales outlook, Lyft left out some key details investors were seeking out, according to analysts.
On Lyft’s conference call Tuesday evening, management was optimistic about the competitive landscape, which was a positive indicator about eventual profitability, according to Asad Hussain, an emerging technology analyst at PitchBook.
“However, Lyft withdrew providing gross bookings data, which complicates the ability of investors to understand pricing trends,” Hussain said in an email.
While the market doesn’t typically appreciate those kinds of “data pull-backs,” Hussain said, he wouldn’t be surprised if Uber were to make a similar move when the time comes for its own quarterly reports.
Judging by the market’s severe reaction, the earnings report appeared to do little to quell the investment community’s long-term concerns about Lyft’s growth prospects. Lyft’s shares are down by 23% from where they priced in the stock’s initial public offering in late March.
Lyft offered encouraging results in its report, but still has “a lot to prove” to investors, Guggenheim analyst Jake Fuller said in a note to clients Wednesday morning. Fuller, who has a “neutral” rating on Lyft, said the report was light on details.
“Limited detail from LYFT around core metrics like number of rides, bookings and take-rate make it more difficult to decipher trends in unit economics and competitive dynamics,” he wrote.
In a bright spot, management announced a new partnership with Waymo, which PitchBook’s Hussain sees as a win for Lyft given “the long-term existential threat posed by autonomous vehicles.”
The report comes ahead of Uber‘s expected public market debut this week. Lyft’s much-larger competitor is expected to price its initial public offering Thursday and begin trading Friday. Analysts have long cited Uber as a major threat to Lyft.
At an expected market value between $US79 billion and $US82 billion – or possibly higher depending upon where shares price – Uber could be the second- or third-largest US-listed IPO on record, according to Dealogic. Only Alibaba’s 2014 debut and Facebook’s 2012 debut were larger.
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