The leading ride-share company may be eyeing an acquisition of one of two leaders in electric scooter rentals, according to a new report from the Information. In what the report said could amount to a “multibillion-dollar deal,” Uber has reportedly launched discussions to buy either Bird or Lime.
The three-bylined report published Friday cited several individuals with knowledge of the talks. The outlet reported that a potential acquisition of either company comes as Uber is looking to “expand further into the fast-growing market for electric scooter services.” According to the Information, there’s a possibility that a deal could be negotiated by the end of the year:
While Uber hasn’t yet arrived at a decision about which path to pursue, the ride-hailing giant has recently come to the realisation that an acquisition could help it alleviate supply constraints of scooters, an issue it has faced as it seeks to expand its own rental service for the two-wheeled vehicles, the person said. At the same time, Bird and Lime face continued fundraising pressure.
Uber already has a minority stake in Lime, as the Information noted, and the rideshare company introduced Lime rentals through its app over the US summer. Uber’s Head of New Mobility Rachel Holt said in a statement at the time that its “investment and partnership in Lime is another step towards our vision of becoming a one stop shop for all your transportation needs.”
Lime has had a rough go of it the last couple of months, with the company engaging in a public relations face-off with Segway over alleged flaming scooter batteries, issuing a global recall over reports some of its scooters can break while being used, and losing a bid for San Francisco’s e-scooter pilot program.
Even still, both companies are valuable operations. As the Information noted, “Bird was valued at $US2 ($2.73) billion in its previous fundraising round, while Lime’s last valuation was $US1.1 ($1.5) billion.”
The Information reported that Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden said through a spokesperson said that the company was “not for sale,” which the Verge said could amount to a bargaining tactic.
A representative for Uber declined Gizmodo’s request for comment.