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Lyft Seeking $9 Billion Buyout, But Uber Says It Wouldn't Pay More Than $2 Billion

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Lyft is attempting to draw the attention of
prospective acquirers, but Uber has already made clear that it would avoid paying north of $2 billion to purchase its main U.S. ridehailing competitor.

Insiders from Uber stated under anonymity that the company did not push an official offer for the takeover. However, Uber has been pondering about buying Lyft since 2014, and sources familiar with the matter claim that the companies discussed the possibility in an informal setting.

Uber's helm, Travis Kalanick, purportedly stated in a private meeting that even if Lyft would accept the $2 billion deal, he would oppose it as the merging would face harsh regulatory scrutiny from U.S. authorities.

Sources from Lyft underlined that the company finds the $2 billion offer as below acceptable.

The company recently went in a quest for buyers, proposing a $9 billion deal for its assets. As you would expect, the rivals from Uber focused on downplaying Lyft's value claims to investors, a strategy that the company deployed successfully in the past, as well.

Earlier this year, General Motors Co. valued Lyft at $5.5 billion. The ridehailing company and the automaker did meet for informal negotiations aimed at establishing the grounds for an acquisition, sources familiar with the matter noted.

According to insiders, the talks never reached the point of a formal offer. What is more, it looks like Lyft turned down the proposal formulated by GM.

When asked to comment, the automaker chose to stay mum about the subject.

Qatalyst Partners was the consulting company Lyft selected to help it in its quest to find potential acquirers.

People who were close to the negotiations pointed out that Lyft approached other big names, beside GM and Uber. On the list of possible buyers of Lyft were brands such as Amazon, Alphabet, China-based ridehailing giant Didi Chuxing, and Apple.

In July, Didi agreed to purchase Uber China, ending a rivalry that was ongoing for the past two years. If the past is any indicator, the deal should face an easy time passing Chinese regulators. In 2015, authorities greenlighted the merging between Uber's two largest rivals in the country.

Things are a bit more complicated with the anti-monopoly environment in the U.S. For one thing, the rivalry between Lyft and Uber generated more affordable rides for Americans. In 2016, Lyft peeled off some market share from Uber in metropolitan areas of the U.S. On the other hand, this prompted the smaller company to push hard on investments.

Lyft purportedly has $1.4 billion in cash, which should allow it to keep fighting independently.

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