Uber Technologies Inc. has advanced the launch of its initial public offering (IPO) from later this year to April, the same month Lyft, its closest rival, will launch its own IPO.

The only question now is the exact date in April for the IPOs of Lyft and Uber. Analysts said it's plainly obvious competitive reasons are behind Uber's advancing its IPO by half a year.

They said the timing for Uber's IPO likely means it will take place after Lyft completes its own IPO. There is now speculation Lyft might launch its IPO by the end of March.

Uber's IPO is expected to generate some $120 billion, making it the largest IPO in history. On the other hand, going public is expected to net about $25 billion for Lyft.

In April, Uber will file its required S-1 public disclosure with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and will then launch its investor roadshow. These preparations will set in motion the Wall Street debut of Uber, the dominant force in the world's ride-hailing industry.

The neck-and-neck race is part of a long and intense rivalry between both firms that have battled each other for riders and drivers since they came into being. Both have also moved quite swiftly to go public given they both filed confidential paperwork for an IPO in December 2018.

Lyft got its IPO party rolling earlier this month by filing its Form S-1 with the SEC. The filing also made public Lyft's hitherto undisclosed operating results.

Lyft revealed a loss of $911 million in 2018, but doubled its revenue to $2.2 billion from 2017. It had $8.1 billion in bookings in 2018, a 78 percent jump from $4.6 billion in 2017. Lyft lost $688.3 million in 2017 and $682.8 million in 2016.

Lyft's 1.1 million drivers in North America ferried over 18.6 million "active riders" from October to December 2018. Lyft drivers earned more than $10 billion since Lyft debuted in 2012. The company says its service is active in more than 300 markets in the U.S. and Canada.

Uber was most recently valued at $76 billion in the private market. It remains confident of attaining a valuation as high as $120 billion. Some analysts, however, believe $100 billion is a more reasonable valuation based on selected financial figures disclosed by Uber.

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Uber's Asia Pacific Chief Business Officer Brooks Entwistle in an interview in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

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