Lyft could be looking to be acquired, as reports have surfaced suggesting that the on-demand car service has enlisted the help of Qatalyst Partners, a firm known for facilitating mergers and acquisitions. The company declined to comment on the report.
Sources told the Wall Street Journal that Frank Quattrone, Qatalyst’s founder and executive chairman, has been in contact with various companies, including large auto makers, to discuss their taking a stake in Lyft. The company has raised more than $2 billion in funding at a $5.5 billion valuation and has been on a seemingly furious pace to take on Uber, which has a massive war chest at its disposal. The possibility of an acquisition has led some to concede that Uber may have won the ridesharing war.
Lyft trying to sell itself … $uber won
— howardlindzon (@howardlindzon) June 27, 2016
Should Lyft be acquired and shuttered, Uber would essentially become a standalone service, especially after General Motors picked up what was left of Sidecar after it shut down in December. That company’s CEO, Sunil Paul, once wrote that Uber’s “win at any cost” model basically put Sidecar out of business. It’s possible that this could result in the same thing for Lyft, although it seems unlikely because of how much funding the company has received.
In an effort to counter the growing influence of Uber, Lyft has formed ridesharing alliances with other companies — kind of an “enemy of my enemy” situation. Last September, the company struck an accord with China’s Didi, which has recently received backing from Apple, and also with GrabTaxi and Ola.
Some of the Lyft’s investors include a bevy of who’s who in the investment world, including Icahn Enterprises, Rakuten, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund, K9 Ventures, fbFund, and even General Motors, which put in $500 million of a $1 billion round into the company.
What may be appealing to large auto makers is technology around self-driving cars that Lyft and may of these ridesharing services are working on. This is why General Motors made its investment, according to company president Dan Ammann: “With GM and Lyft working together, we believe we can successfully implement this vision [of creating an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles] more rapidly.”
If we had to speculate about a possible Lyft acquisition, it seems likely that General Motors could be one of the leading contenders to snatch up the company.