Once the uncontested titans of ride-sharing, Lyft and Uber were quick to act when they noticed electric bike and scooter-sharing start-ups eating away at their dominance. The former snapped up its own bike-share company in Motivate, which operates Citi Bike, and Uber bought electric-bike company Jump, and invested in scooter start-up Lime. But their appetites appear far from sated, particularly as Uber looks to diversify its war chest of transportation options ahead of a 2019 I.P.O. Hence, stories in the Information and the Financial Times this past week, which both reported that Uber is considering deals to buy either Lime or Bird outright. “Uber saw scooters chipping away at the role ride-sharing played in last-mile transit, and they thought, ‘We should get into that,‘” one Silicon Valley investor told me, by way of explanation. “They have a stake in Lime, but why not just buy one of these companies outright?”
The talks, the Financial Times reported, are still in early stages, and may yet fall apart, “especially over the price of the young companies with business models that are unproven.” It wouldn’t be cheap for Uber to buy either company, though its existing share in Lime would likely alleviate some of that cost. Since launching, and in spite of some backlash, both Bird and Lime have raised hundreds of millions of dollars at eye-popping valuations, and launched services in dozens of cities not only in the United States, but around the world. Beyond that, they run expensive businesses that require the acquisition and maintenance of vehicles up front.
originally posted by–https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/12/buying-bird-or-lime-might-help-sweeten-the-deal-why-uber-could-go-all-in-on-scooters