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LYFT Hires M&A Banker Qatalyst Partners

Ride-hailing startup Lyft Inc. hired Qatalyst Partners LP, the boutique investment bank best known for helping tech companies find a buyer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lyft, the largest U.S. rival to Uber Technologies Inc., has tried to keep up with its larger competitor as both companies burn through capital to expand their ride-hailing services.

Lyft has raised about $2 billion in funding, or less than one-sixth the total funds raised by Uber. Lyft was last valued at $5.5 billion by investors including auto maker General Motors Co.

Hiring Qatalyst, one of the most active Silicon Valley deal makers, may signal Lyft is open to a sale. Qatalyst ranks fourth this year among banks advising on U.S. acquisitions, working on deals totaling $33.7 billion, according to data provider Dealogic.

One potential buyer may be General Motors, which paid $500 million for a 10% stake in Lyft earlier this year and indicated that the ride-hailing service could be crucial to the future of automobiles. The two companies have since agreed to develop self-driving cars and to offer deals on rental cars to Lyft drivers.

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