There has been a flood of good news for Uber over recent weeks. And for Lyft, that usually means the inverse. The news hasn't been exactly horrible... it's just painted a narrative that's begun to emit a light stench of desperation.
There was The New York Times' report, citing anonymous sources, that Lyft had approached companies such as GM, Apple, Amazon, and Didi Chuxing over recent months, with selling the company in mind. Bloomberg reported that Uber thumbed its nose at Lyft, saying it wouldn't pay more than $2 billion for its primary U.S. competitor. Then, The Verge reported that Lyft was getting heated at Uber's tactics, quoting a spokesperson calling Uber's behavior "unsavory."
And yesterday, the company's co-founder and president, John Zimmer, said he'd had enough. "We feel like the line was crossed," he said, telling Business Insider definitively: "Lyft is not seeking a buyer."
He called the news reports, which characterized Lyft's meetings as "us wanting to sell the business," as significant mischaracterizations. And the onslaught of similar reports forced him to break the typical silence that surrounds merger-and-acquisition talks. Zimmer didn't deny meetings with potential acquirers, but said: "If the company is approached, it doesn't mean the company is looking."
Interestingly, he did seem to allude to the idea the company has entertained acquisition offers, but so what? Zimmer said: "That's happened multiple times throughout our business. It's actually more of a normal course of business than has been portrayed, and of course we have to review anything that's of legitimate interest."
Also in the Business Insider interview, Zimmer did not deny having the talks. Nor did he explicitly deny a June Wall Street Journal report that the company had hired Qatalyst Partners, the Silicon Valley investment firm with a reputation for orchestrating big acquisitions. (Qatalyst helped ink the LinkedIn-Microsoft deal, for instance.)
But Lyft does seem to be fed up with Uber trying to control the press narrative. A spokesperson for Lyft confirmed to Inc.com that the Business Insider story was factually correct. Uber didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
It will certainly be interesting to see what else--if anything--Zimmer opens up about in coming weeks.