Alphabet is considering investing approximately $1 billion into Lyft, with its funds possibly being directed to the ride-hailing service provider through its subsidiary Google or private equity division CapitalG, sources close to the Mountain View, California-based company said on Friday. Alphabet and Lyft reportedly held talks on the matter in recent weeks but are yet to reach any concrete conclusions and nothing has been set in stone as of now, the insiders revealed, noting how the deal may still fall through.
News of a potential Alphabet investment into Lyft comes approximately a year after the tech giant was said to be considering acquiring the San Francisco, California-based company. Lyft held informal talks about a potential sale with Alphabet and a number of other firms at some point in 2016 but ultimately decided to continue operating on its own, insiders said last year. The company has recently been focusing on lowering its expenses in an effort to move to a more sustainable business model in the near future and ensure its independence, with that goal being easily achievable if one of the most valuable tech giants in the world was to provide it with $1 billion in cash. The two are already collaborating in the form of a partnership Lyft recently struck with Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving subsidiary which is currently suing Lyft's largest rival Uber over alleged trade secret theft. Alphabet already owns a stake in Uber through its Google Ventures-approved investment but isn't on good terms with the company these days, having instead opted to collaborate with its main ride-hailing competitor on driverless vehicles.
Despite Alphabet's reported interest to invest in Lyft, an outright acquisition still seems extremely unlikely, with the firm showing no signs of being willing to enter the traditional ride-hailing market. Instead, Waymo continues to develop its autonomous fleet with the ultimate goal of running a driverless taxi service which is currently being tested in the metropolitan area of Phoenix, Arizona. If the investment goes through, Lyft is likely to use the majority of it for marketing purposes and other operating expenses as it continues striving to take additional market share from Uber while its competitor is still struggling with federal probes, scandals, and a major management change.