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Lyft costs Rakuten $950m in write-downs

US ride-hailer's stock slide slams Japanese e-commerce giant

Lyft's share price has fallen sharply ever since its March IPO due to intense competition with Uber.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Rakuten said Tuesday that it will book a valuation loss of around 103 billion yen ($950 million) in the July-September quarter for its Lyft shareholdings, following a plunge in the U.S. ride-hailing company's stock price during the period.

The Japanese online mall operator is the largest shareholder in Lyft with an 11% stake, and it had reported a valuation gain of 110 billion yen on its holdings when the company went public in March.

Rakuten's group profit for the January-September period is expected to decline, weighed down by the write-down.

Having invested in Lyft before its initial public offering, Rakuten in April turned the company into an equity method affiliate, citing its active involvement in business management through a hand-picked director.

Lyft has been bleeding red ink due to intense competition with rival Uber Technologies, and its stock has languished since the IPO. Despite the latest write-down, Rakuten said its overall investment in Lyft, including the money spent before the IPO, remains profitable.

Rakuten's earnings for the first nine months of the year are due out on Thursday.

Lyft reported on Oct. 30 a net loss of $463 million for the July-September quarter on revenue of $955 million, up 63% on the year.

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