Uber
Uber Image Credit: Supplied

LONDON: Uber said on Thursday (August 6, 2020) it was buying the British tech company Autocab, which sells booking and dispatch software to private hire firms, in a move that will allow the taxi app to reach customers where it does not currently operate.

The Silicon Valley-based firm said the acquisition will allow it to link people who open their Uber app in locations where it does not run, with other providers, starting in Britain but with other countries also in mind.

The companies did not put a value on the deal or detail how the arrangement would be monetised for Uber.

“Autocab has worked successfully with taxi and private hire operators around the world for more than 30 years and Uber has a lot to learn from their experience,” said Uber’s Northern and Eastern European boss Jamie Heywood.

Uber said it will also look into additional ways to boost revenues linked to its platform for services such as delivery.

$2.65 billion Postmates takeover

In July, Uber announced it has agreed to acquire Postmates Inc. in a $2.65 billion all-stock takeover.

Uber Eats
Uber has recently ceded ground in several of the international markets where it operates. It pulled Uber Eats from South Korea in September and sold off its ride-hailing business in Southeast Asia to a local competitor in 2018. Image Credit: Pixabay

Uber Eats head Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty is expected to continue to run Uber's combined delivery business, according to a person who asked not to be identified discussing a private deal. 

The takeover would help Uber gain ground against privately-held DoorDash Inc., the current market leader in US food delivery.

While Postmates hasn't kept pace with DoorDash, it maintains a strong position in Los Angeles and the American southwest, both of which could be valuable to Uber Eats.

The move for Postmates comes on the heels of Uber's failed bid to acquire publicly traded GrubHub Inc., which was scooped up by Europe's Just Eat Takeaway.com for $7.3 billion.

Founded in 2011, Postmates was one of the first to let customers in the US order meal delivery using a mobile app. However, competition has intensified in recent years and Postmates has fallen to a distant fourth.

The company said in February 2019 that it had filed paperwork confidentially for an initial public offering but never went public. It raised private capital last year in a deal that valued the business at $2.4 billion.