Zetsche and Kalanick do the 'frenemy' thing at Berlin conference.
By: Danny King
The chief executives of Uber and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, who appeared on the same conference panel last week, denied having intentions to either buy out each others' companies or reaching an agreement where the ride-hailing leader would buy 100,000 vehicles from the German automaker, Reuters says. Uber's Travis Kalanick and Daimler's Dieter Zetsche also allowed that they compete against each other but Kalanick made sure to mention that he didn't see automobile manufacturing ceasing any time in the near future. The two were speaking on the same panel at the Axel Springer NAOH conference in Berlin.
The buyout talk was apropos because some reports say that closely held Uber's market value may equal or even exceed Daimler's. Uber operates in almost 500 cities, though reportedly has never been profitable. Kalanick said that while the company makes money in developed countries, it's "massively unprofitable" in developing nations.
As for the fleet acquisition, reports surfaced in March that Uber bought 100,000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans from the automaker. That big buy would've been worth about $8 billion.
Meanwhile, Daimler has steadily been broadening its exposure to the alternative mobility field where Uber reigns. In April, Daimler formed a US division of its Moovel mobility-services unit by acquiring Austin, Texas-based ride-sourcing company RideScout and Portland, Oregon-based mobile-ticketing service GlobeSherpa. Moovel North America is also developing software called RideTap, which makes it easier to find the closest available transportation option at a particular moment.
Additionally, Daimler owns the car-sharing company Car2Go. Last week, that division said it had added 78,000 customers just two month after launching its first China operations in Chongqing.