Lyft is NOT up for sale.
The news was confirmed by Lyft President John Zimmer in an attempt to dispel rumors that have surrounded the ridehailing company over the past few weeks; rumors that cast a shadow on its future as the second runner up to market leading Uber.
First, there was General Motors — a minority shareholder in Lyft — expressing interest in taking over the company. GM invested half a billion dollars in Lyft in January in a bid to develop self-driving cars for the ridehailing sector. But when the car manufacturer reportedly approached Lyft with an acquisition proposal, it was rebuffed.
Rumors that Lyft was looking for a better deal, though, continued to circulate. There was talk of Lyft holding discussions with at least six other possible acquirers, not the least of which is rival Uber. But Uber was said to be unwilling to pay more than $2 billion to buy out its competitor. The amount, reports claimed, was below acceptable to Lyft.
Amid all the unofficial accounts and insider information, Zimmer clarifies: "Lyft is not seeking a buyer."
"Getting approached and then having it characterized as us wanting to sell the business and failing to do so is a large mischaracterization," Zimmer tells Business Insider. "If the company is approached, it doesn't mean the company is looking."
Earlier reports said that Lyft had enlisted the help of investment bank Qatalyst Partners, but it was unclear at the time whether Qatalyst was hired to find an acquirer or hold another funding round for Lyft.
After raising funds in January, the ridehailing company reported a market cap of $5.5. billion, an amount dwarfed by Uber's own value of $66 billion. While Lyft is said to hold $1.4 billion in cash, allowing it to continue improving its technology and services and offer better deals to customers, the sheer disparity in the size of their coffers suggests it might be difficult for Lyft to gain further ground in the ridehailing market when competing against a behemoth like Uber.
Talks of multiple acquisition offers, Zimmer explains, is all part of the "normal course of business."
"Of course, we have to review anything that's of legitimate interest," Zimmer says. Reports of Lyft failing to find a buyer, he believes, "mischaracterized" the company and "crossed the line."
When Bloomberg published the story of Uber refusing to pay north of $2 billion in a possible purchase of Lyft, Zimmer says, Lyft felt "enough is enough."
"We need to let people know that we're not looking for a buyer, so that's not a legitimate part of the story," Zimmer adds, "I think it shows a bit of overstepping on Uber's part with the Bloomberg story that fully demonstrates who is behind this."