India's largest ride-hailing company Ola's founder Bhavish Aggarwal took to micro-blogging site Twitter to clarify rumours of a possible merger between Ola and its American counterpart Uber.
"Absolute rubbish. We’re very profitable and growing well. If some other companies want to exit their business from India they are welcome to! We will never merge," Aggarwal tweeted while quoting a news report.
In addition to this, an Ola spokesperson, while replying to a Business Today’s query, said, "Ola is one of the most profitable ride hailing companies in the world with a strong balance sheet. We are the market leader in India and are much bigger than other player. Hence, merger of any kind is completely out of the equation. We believe that India has a lot more opportunity to unlock when it comes to mobility services. As a strong vertically integrated mobility company we will further consolidate our position by any acquisition in the Indian market, if at all."
According to a media report, Ola and Uber have started talks of a possible merger. An Economic Times report, citing two sources, stated that Ola CEO had met top Uber executives in San Francisco, United States.
This comes after Ola shut its quick food delivery and used car businesses, and fired close to 300-350 employees this week. Moreover, the company is readying for its IPO later this year or early next year, Aggarwal had told Business Today in a recent interview.
"We saw the markets turn softer and the global geopolitical situation take over. We as a board took a call to do it later. It could be later this year or early next year because we’re ready… Our investors are very supportive… There’s no urgency for us to list. Our Ola Cabs business is profitable... That’s why we don’t need to perpetually keep raising funds. When we come to the market, some people will be positively surprised," he had said.
Four years ago, the two companies were in talks of a possible merger. In 2018, Japanese conglomerate Softbank was consolidating its cab-hailing companies across the world. Back then, SoftBank Vision Fund owned about 26 per cent stake in Ola and a similar stake in Uber.
Uber’s sale of South-East Asian operations to Grab, two years after selling its Chinese operations to Didi Chuxing, had fuelled the talks that SoftBank was willing to merge Ola and Uber in India as well. But Aggarwal didn't let it happen.
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