Electronic Scooter Empires Continue to Consolidate with Latest $25MM Bird Acquisition
In the past two years, large cities and tourist hot spots have been exposed to the growing micro-mobility services industry including electric scooters, bikes, and mopeds. Bird, Lime, Spin, Scoot, Skip, Jump, and Motivate remain the biggest names in the business, with several other smaller brands popping up on a more local scale. With differentiation being minimal, many believe that the industry only has room to shrink, particularly as more prominent names like Uber and Lyft begin to invest. In line with this theory, this week, the industry leader Bird announced its acquisition of competitor Scoot valued at $71.5 million but selling at an under value estimated price tag of $25 million.
Although Bird is the powerhouse of the industry founded in 2017, and now operating in 100+ cities worldwide, the number of competitors continues to be the biggest challenge for all groups involved. Scoot, on the other hand, has functioned on a much smaller scale since 2012, only operating in San Francisco, Barcelona, and Chile. San Francisco rejected a Bird permit bid to operate in the city about a year ago, so this new deal will ultimately allow Bird to get its foot in the previously closed door. The addition of Scoot’s mopeds and scooters will also grow the Bird range of vehicles even more after the introduction of its Bird Cruiser, or e-bike/ e-scooter crossover, from earlier this year.
Many may not realize that San Francisco’s initial denial is not uncommon, as many cities feel the electric transportation devices can cause more harm than good. This additional threat to existing companies comes from several problems including damage and theft of fleets, irresponsible use by riders, annoyed residents, pollution, and the risk of public transportation obsolescence. Overall, the Bird acquisition of Scoot may just be the beginning of the industry’s consolidation. It will be interesting to watch which bigger players will buy out smaller sized firms in the coming years. Ultimately, industry specialists believe that many of these micro-mobility companies may finally be able to turn a profit if this is the case.
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