September 29, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

‘Amazon of Transportation’: Uber Reportedly in Secret Talks to Buy Bird or Lime

Ride-hailing giant looks to acquire scooter company before going public.

By Sam Catanzaro

A little over a year after Bird launched their first e-scooters in Santa Monica a multi-billion dollar transportation behemoth is courting the company: Uber.

As reported initially by The Information, and later by the Financial Times and Mashable, Uber is pursuing a deal to buy either Bird or Lime. These speculations come less than a month before Uber is set to go public in early 2019 and some estimates have evaluated the company’s worth at $120 billion. 

The Santa Monica Mirror has reached out to Bird, Lime and Uber seeking confirmation about a potential deal, but at the time of publishing, only Uber had responded, declining to comment. 

This news comes a week after Uber’s ride-hailing rival Lyft acquired electronic-assist bike company Motivate and signals a competitive escalation between transportation companies looking to capture the greatest share of riders. Speaking at a tech conference this summer, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he hopes to make his ride-sharing service the Amazon of transportation.

“Let’s create a cheaper form of transportation from A to B, and for you to come to Uber, and Uber not just being about cars, and Uber not being about what the best solution for us is, but really being about the best solution,” Khosrowshahi said. “Just like Amazon sells third-party goods, we are going to also offer third-party transportation services. So we wanna kinda be the Amazon for transportation.”

Uber already has quite the presence within the Santa Monica transportation scene. In addition to their ride-hailing services, they also have 250 Jump e-scooters and 500 red Jump bikes under the City of Santa Monica’s Shared Mobility Pilot Program. On top of this, Uber also owns a minority stake in Lime, but the move to acquire a scooter company comes as the e-transit marketplace has heated up.

In November, Ford acquired e-scooter company Spin for around $100 million. Lime recently launched shareable cars, Lime Pods, in Seattle in addition to announcing plans to build brick and mortar stores in cities throughout the United States. Earlier this week, Bird launched Bird Platform, a service that allows independent operators to purchase custom branded scooters from Bird and rent them out to riders. (See top story page 7)

While buying either Bird or Lime would give Uber an edge on their competition, it won’t come cheap. Despite their status as young companies, Bird and Lime would both come with a price tag. This summer, Bird was valued at $2 billion while Lime touts a valuation of $1.1 billion. In addition, combined Bird and Lime have raised over $1 billion in venture capital in a year, making them two of the quickest companies ever to amassed such funds.

It remains unclear if Uber will be successful in pursuing a deal to purchase Bird or Lime. Both companies, as indicated by their expansion beyond scooters, have shown that they have their eyes set on being leading companies in the future of transportation, not a subsidiary of one. Regardless of the outcome of talks with Uber, Bird and Lime have come a long way since the first rider stepped on a Bird in Santa Monica a year ago.

Related Posts

Santa Monica Walk to End Alzheimer’s

September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

Alzheimer’s Association encouraging residents to walk in small groups amid COVID-19 The Alzheimer’s Association is inviting Santa Monica residents to...

Lawsuit Filed Against Plaza Development

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Slow-growth group says City is violating Surplus Land Act By Sam Catanzaro A slow-growth group has filed a lawsuit to...

City Of Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project: Santa Monica Beat – September, 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Santa Monica Being Sued Over Proposed Plaza Project. * LA Street...

Santa Monica Police Make Additional Arrests in Looting of REI

September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Marques Miles and Misty Jones arrested by Santa Monica Police Department Santa Monica police recently made additional arrests of two...

OpEd: The Miramar Project Will Be a New Architectural Jewel

September 27, 2020

September 27, 2020

The Miramar Hotel has been a central part of Santa Monica’s history and an integral part of the community for...

Edify TV: Trident Center Redevelopment

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

The Westside’s Trident Center is getting a major overhaul and new name as part of a flurry of development in...

Miramar Project to go Before City Council Tuesday

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Councilmember Gleam Davis asks City Attorney whether she should rescue self from vote  By Sam Catanzaro  Santa Monica lawmakers will...

SMa.r.t. Column: Needed, A Heart Transplant

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

We have written about adaptive reuse in previous columns and have postulated that with proper incentives, the existing one, two...

Edify TV: Boulders Blocking Westside Encampment

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

City officials recently removed boulders placed on sidewalks by some Westside residents to prevent the formation of a homeless encampment....

Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? Santa Monica Beat – September, 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes. * Should Council Member Davis Recuse Herself From Voting? * Increases In...

SMC to Be Online for Winter and Spring 2021

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

College cites lack of available vaccine  By Sam Catanzaro Santa Monica College (SMC) has announced it will be delivering classes...

Edify TV: Al Fresco Program Ending?

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

During a COVID-19 pandemic many restaurants have found aid through the City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program, but...

Local Breweries Say They Have Been Unfairly Shuttered as County Passes Grant Program

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Santa Monica Loses Vegan Restaurant

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Space housing Santa Monica vegan restaurant Viva Vegan up for lease By Sam Catanzaro A vegan restaurant in Santa Monica...

Risks Posed by Wildfire Smoke

September 22, 2020

September 22, 2020

UCLA pulmonologist on how people can tell if the wildfires are making them sick By Toi Creel Even if you...