Fresh off its license win in London, Uber Technologies (NYSE:UBER) is looking to further expand its presence in Europe by buying the Your Now ride-hailing joint venture of BMW (OTC:BAMXF) and Daimler (OTC:DMLR.Y), according to a report on Monday by Bloomberg.
The automakers have been trying to find investors in the business so they can focus more fully on their core car operations, but the coronavirus pandemic has thwarted their efforts thus far. Daimler valued the ridesharing business at $720 million in June, Bloomberg said.
An acquisition of Your Now would allow Uber to penetrate deeper into Europe at a time when it is shedding minority stakes in businesses in various countries, including Asian ridesharing app Grab, and the similar business of Russian tech conglomerate Yandex, though it will still own a 19% stake in Yandex when the business is spun off. Japan’s SoftBank Group, which is a major Uber investor, is also pushing it to divest its ownership position in China’s Didi Chuxing.
Numerous carmakers jumped into ride-hailing only to find out it wasn’t the easy-money operation it appeared to be. Ford shut down its Chariot service last year, and General Motors scuttled Maven earlier this year.
BMW and Daimler merged their businesses last year, bringing five different units into a single joint venture. Included in Your Now is Germany’s mytaxi, which was rebranded as Free Now; France’s Kapten; Greece’s Beat, and Romania’s Clever Taxi. An e-scooter company called Hive is also included.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, the acquisition may not happen since the upended marketplace may make it difficult for the two sides to agree on a price.