Alphabet/Google is in talks with the on-demand taxi service Lyft about a possible investment — which would presumably involve some kind of link-up with Google’s self-driving vehicle tech firm Waymo — according to recent reports.
Considering that Google/Waymo is currently in the process of suing Lyft’s competitor Uber for trade secret theft, the news is pretty interesting. With Uber’s many and varied troubles as of late factored in as well, a potential large-scale investment from Google could possibly allow Lyft to become the top firm in the sector.
While exact figures are of course impossible to come by, considering that as of right now all that we have to go on are rumors, Bloomberg did report (citing unnamed sources “close to the matter”) that the deal could total as much as $1 billion.
Who knows, though, maybe this is all just part of PR strategy being pursued by Google in relation to its lawsuit with Uber. Unsurprisingly, both Lyft and Alphabet/Google declined to issue a comment on the matter when queried by Reuters.
Reuters provides more: “In May, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo and Lyft announced a partnership to work together on developing self-driving technology; neither offered many details of the agreement.
“Recently, Lyft has been in an expansion mode, saying in August that it was available in 40 US states covering 94 percent of the country’s population. Lyft raised $600 million in fresh funding in April, mostly from large global investment funds. The round valued the company at $7.5 billion, up from $5.5 billion at Lyft’s previous financing more than a year earlier.
“Additional investment could further push off discussion of an initial public offering, which Lyft had planned likely for 2018, according to sources close to the company.”
Spokespeople for Lyft have previously commented that the company wasn’t likely to do any further funding rounds before its eventual IPO. Perhaps Google has changed the company’s mind?