oBike owner eyes acquisition of Mobike’s international ops: Report

Visual from Mobike's blog.

OSS Inversiones, the investment firm that acquired oBike last year to start a new e-scooter business, has reportedly offered to acquire the international operations of Chinese bike-sharing firm Meituan Bike (formerly Mobike).

The investment firm has proposed to acquire 100 per cent of Singapore Mobike and Mobike BV, the holding company of Mobike’s international subsidiaries, the Business Times has reported.

Founded by Costa Rican brothers Oscar Moises Chaves and Samuel Chaves, the investment firm is said to have forged a strategic alliance with Singapore bike-sharing startup Anywheel, which will see the latter manage the Singapore unit of Mobike while OSS will oversee international operations outside of China once an agreement is reached.

The Business Times report said that OSS submitted its offer for Mobike to Meituan-Dianping last Monday. However, the Chaves brothers have reportedly seen from hesitation from the Chinese delivery giant in signing the term sheets.

Both OSS and Anywheel would consider putting more weight behind the offer, as American e-scooter company Lime is also understood to be interested in Mobike’s Singapore and Japan units.

Earlier this month, several reports said that Mobike was shutting down all international operations to focus on its local market. The bike-sharing company cut staff in Asia Pacific countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and Australia.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) has recently confirmed Mobike’s application to terminate its bike-sharing licence in Singapore. Meanwhile, reports cited a Mobike spokerson as saying: “We will work with LTA to explore all options, including the potential to transfer our operations or license to existing licensees.”

Anywheel currently holds a sandbox licence to operate up to 1,000 bikes. In February, it applied to LTA for a full licence to operate a five-figure fleet of bikes.

Mobike had raised $600 million in Series E funding led by Tencent in 2017. Last year, Meituan-Dianping announced the acquisition of the firm without disclosing the price. Reports emerged that the transaction value was $2.7 billion.

Upon Mobike’s exit from Singapore, it will leave Anywheel, SG Bike and Qiqi Zhixiang as the remaining bike-sharing firms in the city-state. While SG Bike has garnered a full licence to operate 3,000 bikes, Qiqi was granted a sandbox licence for 500 bikes, but the startup has not deployed any so far.

“We are trying our best to grow our fleet size organically and responsibly in such a way that our company can sustain it, making sure we are here for the long run,” Business Times quoted Anywheel CEO Htay Aung as saying.

OSS purchased 66.9 per cent of oBike’s global operations last September, then shuttered the bike-sharing business to start a new e-scooter brand, 0mn1.

The intention of acquiring Mobike was said to serve the same purpose of gaining the data and tech platform to fulfil OSS’ target of establishing a global urban mobility presence.

In December 2018, Mobike had a total of 24,266 deployed bikes in Singapore and 37,717 functioning bikes stored for later deployment, according to the news report. Globally, it had 92,320 deployed bikes and 80,744 bikes in storage.

Also read:

oBike’s new owner applies for e-scooter service licence in Singapore

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.