Uber and Indian ride-hailing firm Ola are mulling bids for London-based taxi firm Addison Lee, which could create a powerful force in one of the world’s biggest private transport markets.
The US giant and Ola are two of “a handful” of companies talking to private equity firm Carylye, Addison Lee’s owner, according to Sky News.
Uber, which recently listed in New York, has signed a non-disclosure agreement with Carlyle and met members of Addison Lee’s management.
At least two other groups are sniffing around Addison Lee, one of which is another private equity group.
Yet Uber and Ola’s interest is at an early stage and could well come to nothing, sources told Sky.
Addison Lee has struggled against competition from ride-hailing apps such as Uber which offer cheaper rides at the tap of a screen.
Yet it still has a 10 per cent market share in London with around 5,000 cars.
Earlier this month London’s transport agency gave India’s Ola a license to operate its ride-hailing service in the capital.
“We are looking forward to building world-class mobility offerings for London,” an Ola spokesperson said at the time.
In September 2017 London authorities refused to renew Uber’s license due to failings surrounding reporting serious criminal offences and driver background checks.
The American firm is now seeking an extension of its current temporary license.
Japan’s SoftBank is a shareholder in both Uber and Ola.
Uber, Ola and Addison Lee have been contacted for comment.