Apple was recently in talks to take a stake in the No. 2 ride-sharing app Lyft. The stake would be part of a “strategic partnership” that could pose a fresh domestic threat to Uber, sources told The New York Post.
The size of the investment was not revealed but the source says Apple was not interested in acquiring the company. The talks were more about forming a strategic alliance. It is not clear whether talks are even ongoing.
The talks are another step in the future competition in self-driving car technology, which both Apple and Uber are interested in developing.
Qatalyst, led by hard-charging tech banker Frank Quattrone, “reached out” to Apple about a possible Lyft acquisition, one source noted, as it likewise brokered discussions with prospective acquirers including Google, Amazon and GM.
Meanwhile, sources said the operational tie-up being discussed by Apple and Lyft was similar to the one Apple took in July with its $1 billion stake in Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing.
The deal with Didi, which has been valued at $26 billion, was a key factor in Uber’s decision last month to give up its aspirations to compete as a stand-alone company in China and merge its operations there with Didi’s, according to some industry insiders.
Likewise, the prospect of Apple becoming a deep-pocketed backer of Lyft, which was valued at more than $5 billion in its most recent round of funding, could change the competitive equation for Uber in the US, sources said.