Four wheels good, two wheels better.
According to a report in The Information, the ride-hailing company Uber is in secret talks to acquire an electric scooter company. And, if the story’s sources are accurate, Uber isn’t being too picky — the company is reportedly speaking with both Bird and Lime about a possible deal.
The move would make sense for Uber, as CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has spoken about his company’s desire to become the “Amazon of transportation” by offering customers an all encompassing range of mobility options.
Lime, for its part, is keeping mum. “We do not comment on market rumors,” wrote a company spokesperson over email when reached for comment.
Uber also declined to comment, and we did not hear back from Bird as of press time.
Importantly, however, things do seem to be moving forward at a faster-than-scooter clip. The Information notes that a deal of some sort could be reached within the next month, although it cautions that said deal could also fizzle out into nothing.
Uber has been exploring some form of scooter business for a while now, with Khosrowshahi touting the importance of both scooters and bikes to the company as recently as August. It’s not immediately clear, however, what would motivate either Bird of Lime to sell to Uber at this moment in time. Other than the money, of course, and whatever advantages come from aligning oneself with a global behemoth like Uber.
Bird recently announced its so-called Bird Platform, which would allow individuals to buy Bird scooters at cost and run their own mini Bird empire — paying Bird a 20 percent cut in the process. Lime, for its part, recently expanded to Australia.
Lyft, Uber’s main competitor, has also made efforts to get into the non-car transportation game. The company applied for a permit to operate an e-scooter rental business in San Francisco, and acquired bike-sharing company Motivate this past summer.
Uber, for its part, acquired the bike-share business Jump in April. This latest report signals that the company is all in on its two-wheeled future.