It seems the company has decided the best path for acquiring market share in the booming e-scooter segment is by acquiring the top players in the field. It is being reported that Uber has been in talks with Bird on a possible “multibillion-dollar” deal and, as a fall-back simultaneously been in talks with Lime (where Uber already owns a minority stake). Their partnership has already led to Uber offering e-scooters in their app for the first time this past summer.
There is a strong incentive on both sides for securing a deal. Uber seeks to get a hold of as big of a market share as possible before the growth of the sector stagnates, and the e-scooter start-ups are currently in need funding to match their hyper-accelerated growth. It is suggested that the negotiations are already in an advanced stage, as Uber is looking to secure a deal with either Bird or Lime before the end of this year.
Uber is employing the same strategy OEMs chose when ride-hailing was relatively new, acquiring as many start-ups as possible. This strategy does have its perks; instead of trying to build their own e-scooter branch from the bottom, Uber is essentially trying to merge e-scooters in their current business offering, thus expanding their business model and service offering.
There might be a lot to gain for the e-scooter start-ups too. With Uber already having to form partnerships with several cities in order to operate, this could be of great value for the e-scooter companies who still have that part of the journey ahead of them.
Written by Mahdere DW Amanuel, RISE Viktoria.