China-based dockless bike-share business Mobike is reportedly set to be sold in a deal that is said to value the three-year-old business at $2.7 billion.
Bloomberg reports that fellow Chinese business Meituan Dianping, best known for restaurant review and food delivery apps and an existing shareholder in Mobike, is set to take full control of the business.
Some 65 per cent of the purchase price will be in cash, says Bloomberg, with the balance made up by existing Mobike shareholders being issued shares in Meituan Dianping, which will also reportedly assume $700 million in debt.
“A lot of Mobike and Meituan’s users don’t overlap so this broadens Meituan’s userbase.”
It adds that Mobike will continue to trade as an independent business under its new parent, and will retain its current CEO.
Speaking of the potential transaction, Zhou Xin of Beijing internet consultanrs Jkinvest Bigdata told Bloomberg: “It’s quite positive for Meituan, as now it fully covers local services of all aspects.
He added: “Meituan is becoming a significant force in itself. Yes, it still belongs to the Tencent camp. But within camps, Meituan is also trying to build its own ecosystem.”
Together with rival operator Ofo, Mobike has been in the vanguard of the global expansion of the app-based, dockless bike-share revolution, and now operates in more than 200 cities worldwide.
Its bikes are now a familiar sight in cities including Sydney, Washington DC, Berlin and Milan, although it is less then 12 months since it first launched outside China, with its first foreign venture being Manchester, and in the UK it also operates in Oxford, Newcastle and parts of London.
The potential deal also represents the latest manoeuvring in the battle between Chinese online giants Tencent Group, a key backer of Meituan Dianping, and Alibaba Group, a major investor in Ofo.
Mark Natkin from Beijing-based Marbridge consultancy told Bloomberg: “It’s not a cheap deal but it’s a key time in the development of the bike-sharing business to pick a winner and get behind it.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.