Wheels agrees to sell its business to micromobility company Helbiz

Wheels, the West Hollywood-based e-bike sharing startup, has agreed to sell its business to micromobility company Helbiz, the companies announced Tuesday.

Helbiz said it signed a letter of intent to acquire Wheels for an undisclosed amount, with the deal 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 start-up Wag. The dockless e-bike provider, which has raised approximately $100 million to date, has 8,000 vehicles deployed in 12 markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Austin and Honolulu.

Wheels notably strengthened its presence in its hometown; the company claims to be the “sole operator in the four licensed metropolitan Los Angeles markets”, namely the cities of LA, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Culver City.

New York-based Helbiz currently operates in more than 35 cities in the United States and Italy, according to its website, with plans to expand into France and Serbia. Helbiz, which runs a fleet of electric scooters, bicycles and mopeds, was launched in 2015 by Italian-American entrepreneur Salvatore Palella and went public under a SPAC deal last August.

The merger comes after Wheels signed a deal with Helbiz in January to supply the company with 2,500 of its seated e-bikes in the United States and Italy.

“From a strategic point of view, this acquisition should double [Helbiz’s] revenues, expand cities served, improve margins and reduce costs,” Palella said in a statement. “Our goal is to adapt and grow with profitability at the heart of every decision. This acquisition gives us even more confidence in our ability to achieve this objective over the next 18 months. »

Helbiz posted net losses exceeding $19 million in the quarter ended March 31, on revenue of just $3.3 million.

“Our businesses are complementary in very 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 unique and diverse mobility offering that generates compelling synergies across a broad footprint.”

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