Ola and Uber are in merger talks; Bhavish Aggarwal meets with Uber executives in San Francisco

Ola as well as Uber are in talks about a possible merger, according to two sources who said co-founder and CEO Ola Bhavish Aggarwal, with top Uber executives recently in San Francisco, USA.

The two companies were also in talks four years ago when common investor Softbank pushed for a merger. Then the deal didn’t go through. Those conversations seem to have resurfaced in recent months as both Uber and Ola struggle with growth.

Taxi hailing companies competed fiercely with each other for dominance in the Indian market and spent billions of dollars on driver incentives and passenger discounts.

However, the intensity of the competition has eased in recent years as the pandemic reduced demand for app-hailed taxis in India as both companies cut back on sluggishness and tighten up operations.

Ola has already closed its fast delivery and used car business as the company decided to focus on its core mobility with a more compact team. Up to 1,000 people could lose their jobs in Ole’s latest round of layoffs, originally estimated at around 500, ET said on Friday.

Meanwhile, a month ago, Uber vehemently denied any move to sell, reacting to a Bloomberg report that said the company was looking into selling its India unit a year ago.

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Uber did not respond to questions about talks between the two companies or Aggarwal’s visit. Ola did not respond to inquiries from ET Prime that tried to confirm talks or a meeting between Aggarwal and Uber executives.

However, Ola said in a statement that instead of a merger, the company would consider an acquisition to strengthen its position. “Ola is one of the most profitable taxi companies in the world with a strong balance sheet. We are the market leader in India and much bigger than other players. Therefore, any merger is completely out of the question. that India has a lot more room to open up when it comes to mobility services. As a strong vertically integrated mobility company, we will further strengthen our position through any acquisition in the Indian market, if at all.”

After the story was published, an Uber spokesperson responded.

“We are not and have not been in talks to merge with Ola,” an Uber spokesperson said.

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