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Santa Claus rings the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Last week came news that Uber and Lyft have filed confidential IPO documents with U.S. securities regulators, while Slack has hired its IPO underwriter.

The temptation is to write that the companies are reacting to the public equities pullback, particularly in tech stocks, by rushing to price before the IPO window slams shut. The reality is that these plans have been in the works for months, including during the public equities surge in early Q3 and the post-Halloween sugar rush.

Moreover, filing confidentially now guarantees nothing in terms of market conditions for when these companies could actually go public. For context, Snap filed confidentially in mid-November 2016 and didn't list until the beginning of March 2017.

  • Filing confidentially now is a recognition that everything is about to shut down for a couple of weeks, so this puts them at the top of the queue once everyone's back at work on Jan. 2.
  • The "IPO window" is a real factor for smaller or even mid-sized issuers, but these three can go when they're ready, almost regardless of macro market conditions.

There's also been talk that Uber and Lyft are "racing" each other to go public first. This one is a bit more complicated.

  • In the end, first to market won't much matter. Yes, the initial issuer will set some road show narrative and valuation multiples, but it should all come out in the wash after both companies begin trading. Just ask Box and Dropbox — which is a better comp than you might reflexively think, given that Uber and Lyft are pretty different companies in terms of both scale and product offerings, despite their shared core business of U.S. ride-hail.
  • That said, these two companies really, really, really don't like each other. Some of that animosity has ebbed in the post-Kalanick era, but bragging rights remain a motivator.
  • Neither Lyft nor Uber knows when they'll be able to go public, given that they represent a new category for securities regulators (unlike, say, Slack). If there are lots of questions, then filing now ensures that the actual pricing won't leak into early summer.

Go deeper: The parallel universe of unicorns

Correction: An initial version of this story said that Slack had filed confidential IPO documents. It only has hired a lead underwriter.

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.