Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. said it’s purchasing Motivate, the operator of Citi Bike in New York City and other bike-rental programs in major U.S. cities.
Lyft didn’t disclose terms of the deal. Discussions had centered around a price tag of US$250 million as recently as June.
The acquisition thrusts Lyft into a growing battle over short-distance ground transportation in the U.S. In April, Uber Technologies Inc. bought Jump Bikes, an electric-bike rental startup. Bird Rides Inc. and Lime have raised hundreds of millions in venture capital to buy electric scooters to rent out via mobile application.
Motivate has mainly specialized in traditional bicycles that are stored in docking stations around cities. The company has begun to experiment with electric bicycles. It has agreements with officials in San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere, which will be included in the deal, Lyft said. Motivate’s bike maintenance operations will remain a standalone business unit with the current brand.
However, Motivate is under threat from a growing wave of so-called dockless bike and scooter companies, whose customers can leave vehicles on practically any sidewalk for the next person to pick up. Cities are currently grappling with how to regulate those services.