US: GM buys remains of failed Sidecar ride sharing service
Issue Date: 2016-01-27

General Motors is spending an undisclosed amount about to buy up what's left of failed ride-hailing and delivery service Sidecar, which shut down last year.

"The automaker has acquired the technology and most of the assets of the San Francisco-based ride-hailing pioneer," Bloomberg's Eric Newcomer and Brad Stone reported.

Bloomberg added that beyond picking up Sidecar's "technology and assets," GM is hiring approximately 20 former employees, notably CTO Jahan Khanna, but not former CEO Sunil Paul.

Citing knowledgeable sources, Newcomer and Stone reported that the acquisition would cost GM less than $39 million — the sum that Sidecar raised from investors during its existence.

GM has been pushing hard of late to establish itself as a leader in both new-vehicle technology and potentially disruptive alternatives to the traditional auto industry model of car ownership. Earlier this year, it invested $500 million in Lyft, bringing the Uber rival's valuation to $5.5 billion.

According to Bloomberg, GM is developing a comprehensive ride-hailing and mobility service, code-named "Maven." GM executive Dan Ammann is in charge of the initiative. Ammann will also sit on Lyft's board, following the automaker's investment.

On balance, GM appears to be seeking ways to bolster itself against any Uber threats by grabbing relative bargains in the ride-sharing space. Lyft is valued at tens ot billions less than Uber, and Sidecar had morphed into mainly a delivery service after it was unable to effectively challenge Lyft and Uber.