Ridesharing

Daimler, BMW To Combine Car Sharing Biz

The European Union’s (EU's) competition authority has approved a plan by luxury carmakers Daimler and BMW to combine their car sharing businesses.

“Combining our mobility services as planned will create a unique digital ecosystem,” said BMW Chairman of the Board Management Harald Krüger in a statement in March. “This alliance will make it easier for our customers to discover the emission-free mobility of the future. We remain competitors when it comes to the best premium vehicles. The planned merger of our mobility services will pool our resources and send a strong signal to our new competitors.”

This new deal includes car sharing units car2go and DriveNow, as well as other ride-hailing, parking and charging services, and allows for Daimler and BMW to each hold 50 percent stakes in the venture. The companies offered concessions to address European Commission competition concerns, specifically for free-floating car sharing services in Berlin, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Munich and Vienna.

“The commitments, thus, fully address the Commission’s concerns, as they will reduce the barriers to entry for competing, free-floating car sharing providers,” the Commission said, according to Reuters. “Therefore, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. The Commission’s decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.”

The news came as Daimler announced its acquisition of Germany-based ridesharing company Flinc in 2017. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed when the deal was announced, and it was reported that Flinc would continue to operate independently after the acquisition was completed. Flinc has a focus on smart navigation, and Daimler’s Mobility Services division noted the acquisition was part of its strategy to “transition from being an automobile manufacturer to a mobility service provider.”

In addition, Daimler acquired German companies car2go and mytaxi, which included the acquisition of Hailo, Uber’s competitor in the ridesharing space.

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