Posted on April 11, 2019 by staff

Bike-sharing start-up close to MBO in Europe


The European leadership of bike-sharing start-up Mobike is in the closing stages of a management buyout.

The company was sold to Chinese internet company Meituan-Dianping last year for $2.7 billion, but is expected to value the European arm at around $100 million (£76m) although it has yet to be completed.

Mobike’s orange push-bikes have been seen on streets across the UK since 2015.

In an email to prospective investors seen by The Telegraph, Mobike said: “The management team are confident with the business, and are now closing a management buyout from Meituan. After the MBO, the management will own majority of the business.”

The note added Mobike would seek to expand its app into electric bikes and scooter sharing in Europe.

The start-up was just one of a host of Chinese bike-sharing companies that burst onto the streets of Europe, launching dockless bicycles on city streets that could be unlocked with a smartphone app.

Founded in Beijing in 2015, Mobike became one of the world’s fastest-growing start-ups, but the bike bubble proved short-lived, with several bike companies retrenching to major cities due to vandalism and the cost of maintaining thousands of bikes.

The deal will spin-off the company’s European arm as its Chinese parent company, which listed last year in Hong Kong for around $55bn, sells off or shuts down the international assets it acquired and focuses on its domestic market.

Mobike still has a UK presence in parts of London, Newcastle, Oxford and Cambridge, but has cut back its presence in many other cities.

The business had proved successful in a handful of launch cities in Europe, despite heavy losses as it expanded globally.

Sources close to the company said the buyout is being led by Paul Zhu, Regional General Manager for Mobike Europe, and other senior executives, according to The Telegraph.

A spokesman for Mobike declined to comment.