escooter

Bird Rides is looking to go public via a blank-check company, Bloomberg reported Monday. The Santa Monica-based e-scooter unicorn is working with Credit Suisse Group and is in early-stage discussion on a deal with a special acquisition company or SPAC, the news outlet said citing sources close to the matter. Those sources said there is no guarantee a deal will go through.

But, the move could provide a lifeline for venture-backed Bird, which is still not profitable and has been trying to slim down during the pandemic. dot.LA reported last month that the company is looking to offload its headquarters and that Fidelity Investments marked down the company's value by 17% since the beginning of the year.

Credit Suisse declined to comment but Bird released a statement to Bloomberg playing down the report.

"We have no plans to go public this year and remain dedicated to partnering deeply with the cities and neighborhoods we serve during this significant time of need —providing free rides to front line health care workers and discounted rides to community members — and building a sustainable business that is complementary to public transit while continuing our path to profitability."

Bird became the fastest company in history to reach unicorn status in 2018. Shortly after that, it achieved a $2 billion valuation in less than a year. But in March, it abruptly laid off 406 employees via a Zoom call that former employees described as dystopian. Headquarters was particularly hard hit, with the layoffs reducing the staff by more than half.

SPACS have become a popular way to go public this year, providing a quick route to Wall Street without the typical underwriters. But the recent decline of electric car maker Nikola has raised questions about projections companies make as they go out for a SPAC.

After completing a costly renovation less than a year ago, the once high-flying e-scooter unicorn Bird Rides has put its airy and sleek Santa Monica offices up for sublease, dot.LA has learned. Prior to the pandemic, Bird was looking at tripling its local footprint, but now with a local workforce numbering less than half what it was before the pandemic and those who remain working from home indefinitely, the company is dramatically downscaling.

The move comes as Fidelity Investments filed a disclosure Friday with the SEC revealing it has marked down the value of its Bird investment by 17% since the beginning of the year.

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