EXCLUSIVE SoftBank-backed Gopuff hires banks for IPO -sources

Jan 25 (Reuters) - Gopuff, the SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) -backed delivery startup that was valued at about $15 billion last year, has tapped banks to lead preparations for a U.S. initial public offering (IPO), people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

U.S.-based Gopuff, which operates in 1,000 cities in the United States and Europe, is working with Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) on its planned stock market float, which is expected later this year, the sources said. It also plans to tap other underwriters, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), the sources added.

The sources cautioned that the timing, valuation and size of the IPO were subject to market conditions. All sources requested anonymity because the discussions are confidential.

Gopuff, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan declined to comment.

The sources said that GoPuff is expecting to be valued at a significant premium to its $15 billion valuation from a fundraise in July. Gopuff was valued at just $4 billion in an October 2020 fundraising.

The company also issued a convertible note in December to raise $1.5 billion from existing investor Guggenheim Investments and other debt holders, the sources said. The note will convert to equity at either the IPO price or at a maximum valuation of $40 billion, the sources added.

Gopuff is pushing ahead with its IPO preparations and is expected to be among the biggest flotations this year, despite market conditions that are less than ideal for stock market launches.

Volatility has caused a number of IPOs to be postponed while other companies have been forced to rethink their plans. IPO bankers, however, say the pipeline for deals is still healthy.

Founded in 2013 by college students Rafael Ilishayev and Yakir Gola, Gopuff has grown into one of the largest on-demand delivery startups. It business was aided by widespread lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic that forced people to rely on online delivery platforms.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Gopuff delivers items like food, alcohol and medicines at a $1.95 flat delivery charge, and competes with other delivery platforms like Instacart and Rappi, both of whom are also expected to go public this year.

Gopuff has 600 mini-warehouses. By owning the inventory and end-to-end supply chain, Gopuff aims to make its business more profitable. Earlier this month, it launched its first private-label brand.

Gopuff has raised more than $3.5 billion in equity funding to date, counting Accel, Blackstone, Fidelity Management and singer Selena Gomez among its prominent backers.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu and Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Anirban Sen is the Editor in Charge for U.S. M&A at Reuters in New York, where he leads the coverage of the biggest deals. After starting with Reuters in Bangalore in 2009, Anirban left in 2013 to work as a technology deals reporter in several leading business news outlets in India, including The Economic Times and Mint. Anirban rejoined Reuters in 2019 as Editor in Charge, Finance to lead a team of reporters, covering everything from investment banking to venture capital. Anirban holds a history degree from Jadavpur University and a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media. Contact:+1 (646) 705 9409

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Krystal reports on venture capital and startups for Reuters. She covers Silicon Valley and beyond through the lens of money and characters, with a focus on growth-stage startups, tech investments and AI. She has previously covered M&A for Reuters, breaking stories on Trump's SPAC and Elon Musk's Twitter financing. Previously, she reported on Amazon for Yahoo Finance, and her investigation of the company's retail practice was cited by lawmakers in Congress. Krystal started a career in journalism by writing about tech and politics in China. She has a master's degree from New York University, and enjoys a scoop of Matcha ice cream as much as getting a scoop at work.