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'Absolute Rubbish': Ola CEO Dismisses Reports of Merger Talks with Uber

According to 'Economic Times', Ola's co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal had met top Uber executives in San Francisco to discuss a possible merger.

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New Delhi: After reports emerged of a potential merger of Indian cab aggregators Ola and Uber Technologies Inc, Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal dismissed them, by calling them “absolute rubbish”.

The Economic Times, earlier in the day on Friday, July 29, carried a report saying that Aggarwal met top Uber executives in San Francisco, United States, recently to get started on the merger.

Reacting to the reports, Aggarwal took to Twitter and said:

The latest news on a possible merger between two ride-hailing companies comes four years after the common investor Softbank had pressed for a merger, but failed to fructify.

Now that both companies facing their worst crises due to sluggish demand for app-based mobility services in India in the aftermath of the covid pandemic, the ET report said, the talks of merger once again revived in recent months.

The adverse impact of the pandemic was seen in the form of Ola laying off its staff to tighten operations and to have a leaner team. In the latest round of layoffs, the firm seems to have terminated the services of nearly 1,000 of its staff members – a jump from the initially projected 500 layoffs, the report said.

On the other hand, Uber had recently dismissed a Bloomberg report that suggested the company had explored a sale of its India unit a year ago.

The ET reported that both Ola and Uber did not respond to queries from its end on the merger talks.

However, Ola, in a statement, said that it was actually looking at acquisitions rather than a merger to consolidate its position.

“Ola is one of the most profitable ride-hailing companies in the world with a strong balance sheet. We are the market leader in India and are much bigger than other player. Hence, merger of any kind is completely out of the equation. We believe that India has a lot more opportunity to unlock when it comes to mobility services. As a strong vertically integrated mobility we will further consolidate our position by any acquisition in the Indian market, if at all,” the report quoted Ola as saying.

(With inputs from Reuters)