Uber tried to buy its largest American ride-hailing rival, Lyft, in 2014, but negotiations fell apart over price, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick confirmed to the Economist.
“It’s a really powerful thing for a company to compete. It makes you fierce about serving your customer,” Kalanick told the Economist.
The weekly newspaper interviewed Kalanick for a fantastic long feature about the world’s most valuable startup.
Uber had been considering purchasing Lyft going back to 2014, but wouldn’t pay more than $2 billion for the startup, Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer previously reported.
Even as Lyft’s President John Zimmer insists that his startup isn’t for sale, the ride-hailing company has received a fair amount of interest from suitors. Lyft has held talks with Amazon, GM, and Uber, among others, The New York Times reported last month.
The reason that Uber would have bought its smaller rival is so that the two companies would no longer have to compete for customers and drivers on price. It would have been a similar rationale to why Uber China and Didi Chuxing merged earlier this year.
“Many of Uber’s investors wish the two had gone forward with a deal, so that Uber would not have to keep battling for share,” according to the Economist.
Uber may have passed on Lyft. But it has made other splashy purchases in the meantime. Most recently, Uber bought Otto, a self-driving truck startup, for a reported $680 million. Kalanick told Business Insider’s Biz Carson that it would help Uber break into the “multitrillion-dollar” trucking business.