Bird Is Acquiring Scoot, Expanding Scooter Rental Network

(Bloomberg) -- Bird Rides Inc., one of the largest startups that rents electric scooters through an app, said it will acquire its smaller rival, Scoot Networks Inc. The deal will add a small fleet of motor scooters and give Bird entree to San Francisco, where officials rejected the company’s application for a license to provide rentals on city sidewalks.

The companies did not disclose a price for the acquisition on Tuesday. Bird was most recently valued at about $2 billion by investors and Scoot at $72 million as of 2017, according to research firm PitchBook.

As scooter companies have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital, the two-wheeled electric vehicles have proliferated across U.S. and European cities. The companies have fiercely competed with one another, making them unable to turn a profit and angering some city officials who are put off by the use of public space and the possibility for injuries.

Scoot, which debuted in 2012, also rents mopeds and bicycles via its app. Scoot has a sizable footprint in San Francisco, where many other scooter companies were shut out by official decree. Before the purchase, Bird had only been able to edge back into San Francisco by offering monthly scooter rentals.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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