European e-scooter giant Tier Mobility maps route to merger

Business

Tier Mobility, the electric scooter group, is exploring a potential sale or merger with a rival as investors push operators to seek consolidation opportunities amid mounting financial losses.

Sky News has learnt that Tier, which is based in Berlin and is backed by investors including the vast SoftBank Vision Fund, has engaged investment bankers from Qatalyst Partners to orchestrate talks about prospective tie-ups.

The development comes less than three months after it emerged that Tier was working with Rothschild to raise hundreds of millions of pounds of additional funding – its first such capital-raising since 2021.

Industry sources said that the external financing talks, which incorporated both equity and debt, did not produce satisfactory terms for Tier.

It was unclear on Monday whether Tier had already commenced talks about a sale or merger, although insiders said it was expected to press for discussions in the coming weeks.

Other major e-scooter operators in Europe include the likes of Dott and Lime.

A Tier spokesman said: “As a company we do not comment on rumours or speculation in the marketplace.”

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Tier has a presence in six English locations including London, Milton Keynes and York.

The company operates in 24 countries and has now deployed 270,000 vehicles in more than 460 cities.

It was said in February to be planning to raise as much as €1bn in new funding, with at least part of the new capital injection intended to be in the form of a convertible loan note.

The company is backed by investors including the giant SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Northzone, one of Europe’s leading venture capital funds, and Mubadala Capital, the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund.

Tier has told potential investors that it expects to be profitable this year, a rare milestone in an industry whose economic challenges have come under increasingly intense scrutiny.

The company has acquired a number of rivals, including Spin, Ford’s electric bike and scooter unit.

Its last funding round, in October 2021, took place at a $2bn valuation and took the aggregate sum raised since its launch to $647m.

The e-scooter industry has faced increasingly tough conditions as it has grown, with the pandemic having a significant effect on urban footfall in the cities in which it operates.

Companies have also faced a backlash from public authorities in cities such as Paris, with concerns about pedestrian safety and the problems of vehicles left strewn across streets undermining their investment case.

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