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Update March 12: Lyft later confirmed the round, but did not comment on the valuation.
The ride-hailing service Lyft has raised a massive $530 million funding round, led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.
The new round is expected to be announced Thursday, according to a report from TechCrunch Wednesday night.
The new money would bring Lyft’s funding total up to $850 million. The startup would be valued at about $3 billion.
According to the report, Rakuten contributed $300 million to the new round, which buys it 11.9 percent of Lyft.
A month ago reports said Lyft was raising at least $250 million, potentially valuing it at $2 billion. Those estimates were well shy of the mark, if the reports today are true.
Actually, one outlet, the New York Post, wrote a month ago that Lyft was looking to raise $500 million. The New York Times, meanwhile, pegged the number at $250 million. Both said that the investment would value Lyft at $2 billion.
At any rate, a new $530 million round would give Lyft the resources it needs to move into new markets and attempt to challenge the biggest company in the space, Uber.
Lyft has a tough slog catching up with Uber, however. Currently, Lyft operates in 60 markets, while Uber operates in more than 250.
Uber is currently valued at about $40 billion, based on recent investment.
Lyft and Uber have been competing not only for riders, but for drivers. Lyft has gone so far as to offer to pay some of its drivers’ automotive expenses, as well as for certain health and wellness services.
Meanwhile both companies are facing lawsuits from drivers over benefits. In separate cases in San Francisco, Lyft and Uber drivers are asking the courts to classify them as employees entitled to car expense reimbursements and other benefits. Uber and Lyft are trying to convince the courts that drivers are independent contractors, who are expected to take care of their own expenses.
Lyft and Uber have so far failed to convince the courts. The judges in the cases said in separate rulings Wednesday that a jury will have to decide.
The outcome of the cases could deeply impact the valuations of the companies.
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