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Lyft Looks To Didi, Apple, G.M. For An Exit Lane
When Uber and Didi Chuxing orchestrated their market-shifting alliance last month, it put Lyft in a very tough position.
The U.S.-based ride-hailing service that aligned themselves strongly with Didi both financially and strategically, now has to come to terms with the fact that their largest ally is now in cohorts with their largest competitor, Uber.
It’s a trying time for the U.S.’s second-biggest ride-hailing company, and Lyft is now trying to do what one might expect: shop around for a buyer.
According to sources who spoke to the New York Times, Lyft has approached Didi Chuxing in hopes of selling the company, as well as high-profile Didi investor Apple. The company has also been in discussions with General Motors, Google, Amazon and even Uber itself, the same people said.
The acquisition of Uber’s China operations by Didi Chuxing effectively flipped the ride-hailing market upside down overnight. Before, the competitive pressure point lay between Uber and Didi, along with their network of loosely affiliated strategic partners, including Lyft, India’s Ola Cabs and Singapore’s Grab.
In the wake of Uber and Didi’s armistice, the weight of competition has shifted to the market between Uber’s global operations and the number of independent hailing services that now find themselves on the periphery of the empire, including Lyft.
It’s still not clear what the future of Lyft and Didi’s relationship will look like. With Uber and Didi retaining separate apps in the China market for now, Lyft still acts as Didi’s trans-pacific partner, with Didi users able to hail Lyft cars in the U.S. through the Chinese app and vice versa.
Prospects for the U.S. company are tightening. Lyft has neither the stashed funds or investor prospects to even consider taking on the Uber-Didi alliance, meaning their easiest bet is to broker a sale with one of their own strategic investors, which includes G.M. and Didi.
Lyft is reportedly working with Silicon Valley-based banking firm Qatalyst Partners to manage the sale, and as of January is valued at $5.5 billion USD.