Editor’s note: Rumors are rife in China, especially so in a hotly contested area like transportation and O2O services. This news is unconfirmed and the veracity of Mobike’s financial and operational situation as outlined is unclear.
Update 10:02 04 Apr 2018: The purchase has been confirmed by multiple sources. Follow our coverage here.
Rumors of Chinese e-commerce and ride-hailing company Meituan-Dianping’s plan to acquire bike rental firm Mobike are circulating on Chinese social media.
Sina Weibo CEO Wang Gaofei, under the moniker Laiquzhijian (来去之间, lái qù zhī jiān), forwarded the news on microblogging platform Weibo, lending it credibility among local pundits. There has been no official statement from either company so far.
He claimed that Meituan plans to buy the bike rental company for $3.7 billion, including US$1.2 billion in cash, US$1.5 billion in equity, and US$1 billion in debt. Local media have reported unconfirmed details of Mobike’s internal financial statements that show the company owes up to RMB 6 billion in user deposits and another RMB 1 billion to suppliers, totaling more than $1 billion.
According to local media reports, the company has supposedly seen its number of daily rides decline over the past few months resulting in the need for operating expense and asset investment of up to RMB 810 million a year. In January the company’s total rides fell to less than 10 million per day while its daily trips per bike have decreased to one, say local media.
“Mobike reaffirms our smart bike sharing platform has over 200 million registered users, supports over 30 million rides every day, and operates over 9 million Mobikes connected through IoT technology,” a spokesperson for Mobike told
Mobike was thought to be merging with competitor ofo, speculation that was later denied by company CEO Davis Wang, saying that a “merger is not an option for the company.” Rumors also spread suggesting it was entering a round of funding led by Meituan. However, this was later repudiated by both parties.
Meituan is seeking a Hong Kong IPO with a valuation of US$60 billion. It recently launched its ride-hailing service in Shanghai after a trial in Nanjing. However, shortly after operations began, the company was summoned by city authorities for failing to link the data of vehicles and staff to the city’s supervision platform.
Update 04 April 7:05: Now includes official statement from Mobike.
Update 03 April 18:25: Caixin is reporting that Meituan is in talks with Mobike to buy a large part of the bike-rental business. A source has said that the final figure has not been agreed upon and the deal is being brokered by Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent.