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West Hollywood-based electric bicycle-sharing startup Wheels has agreed to sell its business to micromobility firm Helbiz, the companies announced Tuesday.
Helbiz said it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Wheels for an undisclosed sum, with the transaction expected to close by the end of this year.
Wheels was launched in 2018 by brothers Jonathan and Joshua Viner, the former co-founders of dog-walking startup Wag. The dockless e-bike provider, which has raised roughly $100 million in funding to date, has 8,000 vehicles deployed across 12 markets including Los Angeles, New York, Austin and Honolulu.
Wheels has particularly built up its presence in its hometown; the company says it is the “only operator across the four permitted markets of metropolitan Los Angeles”—those being the cities of L.A., Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Culver City.
New York-based Helbiz currently operates in more than 35 cities across the U.S. and Italy, according to its website, with plans to expand to France and Serbia. Helbiz—which manages a fleet of electric scooters, bicycles and mopeds—was launched in 2015 by Italian-American entrepreneur Salvatore Palella and went public in a SPAC deal last August.
The merger comes after Wheels inked a deal with Helbiz in January to supply the company with 2,500 of its sit-down e-bikes in the U.S. and Italy.
“From a strategic perspective, this acquisition is expected to double [Helbiz’s] revenue, expand the cities served, enhance margins and reduce costs,” Palella said in a statement. “Our focus is to adapt and grow with profitability at the core of every decision. This acquisition makes us even more confident in our ability to achieve that goal in the next 18 months.”
Helbiz reported net losses exceeding $19 million in the quarter ended March 31, on revenues of just $3.3 million.
“Our businesses are complementary in really powerful ways,” Wheels CEO Marco McCottry said in a statement. “There is minimal overlap of city permits, and we believe the combination of our businesses can create a uniquely diversified mobility offering that generates compelling synergies across a large footprint.”
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