Uber’s Offer For Daimler/BMW’s Free Now Tops EUR1B

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The deal for Uber’s EUR1 billion-plus offer to buy Daimler/BMW’s Free Now is up in the air due to BMW’s hesitation, according to a Wednesday (Oct. 21) report in the German monthly business magazine Manager Magazin, per Reuters.

Daimler is reportedly ready to sign, but Oliver Zipse, chief executive officer of BMW, has indicated that he would rather sell Uber just a stake in Free Now, the magazine said.

The ride-hailing tool Free Now is one of five solutions that comprise the joint venture called Your Now, which sprung from the 2019 mobility operations merger of Daimler and BMW. Other solutions under the Your Now umbrella include Reach Now for mobility planning; Park Now to find and reserve parking; Share Now for car sharing; and Charge Now, an infrastructure for electric car charging.

Sources told Bloomberg last month that if Uber buys Your Now, it would increase the rideshare giant’s penetration in European and Latin American markets. Your Now is available in more than 100 cities. Daimler’s 50 percent share of Your Now was valued at EUR618 million four months ago.

Free Now previously operated as MyTaxi and integrates a cross-section of ride-hailing apps such as Kapten, which operates in France; Beat in Greece; and Clever Taxi in Romania.

Gross merchandise volume for Free Now had been forecast pre-pandemic to reach EUR8 billion in 2022, according to Bloomberg. The coronavirus has upended the ride-hailing sector, however, and Free Now had layoffs in April.

In August, Free Now was reportedly several deadlines behind in paying 14,000 drivers in Ireland. The startup blamed third-party payors but did not confirm if the collapse of Wirecard was part of the reason.

Earlier this month, Uber announced it was partnering with the Korean firm SK Telecom to collaborate on a new venture as well as ride-hailing. SK Telecom has restructured over the years to become a tech firm with its hands in mobile communication, media, security and commerce.

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