Rakuten’s Mikitani to be among the biggest winners in Lyft’s IPO

The Lyft Inc. application. Photographer: Gabby Jones/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.

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.