over 3 years ago • 2 mins
Looks like Uber isn’t too keen on this whole self-isolation thing: the ride-hailing giant is reportedly looking to buy Free Now, a rival European venture owned by auto titans Daimler and BMW 🚘
Free Now – the biggest of the various car-related businesses jointly owned under the “Your Now” umbrella – was created from a few different ride-hailing services, including the UK’s Hailo and France’s Kapten 🤝 But with all inessential travel grinding to a halt amid the global lockdowns, it found itself struggling throughout the pandemic – and Daimler and BMW have now started to back away from it altogether.
That could be why Uber’s suddenly interested 👀 America’s ride-hailing superstar might now be able to snap up the rival taxi app on the cheap: Daimler valued its half of Your Now at $720 million in June, which suggests the whole company – including the non-ride-hailing segments – is worth around $1.4 billion. See? Cheap.
Uber has sold off the small stakes it had in Asian and Russian businesses in recent years, in hopes it’ll be able to focus on its biggest markets and eventually turn a profit 💵 So the potential acquisition of Free Now makes sense: Uber would not only save the money it’d normally spend on competing with the rival company, but it should also boost its market share – and its profit – across Europe and Latin America.
Even before it became a public company, Uber was having a tough time 🚫 It was barred from adding new drivers for a year by New York lawmakers in 2018, became locked in ongoing disputes about whether its freelance workers were legally employees, and last year faced an outright ban in London. At least the latter’s worked itself out: a judge declared Uber “fit and proper” to continue operating in the city on Monday.
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