Lyft plans to remain an independent ride-hailing service, co-founder and president John Zimmer said Tuesday, dispelling rumors the company has been shopping around for a new owner.
"We were not" for sale and "we are not" for sale, he said.
The issue was raised during an onstage interview at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live global technology conference in Laguna Beach, California. Lyft is the second-largest ride-hailing service in the US, behind Uber, and is currently valued at $5.5 billion. Uber is valued at $68 billion.
Lyft hired investment bank Qatalyst Partners in June, fueling rumors the ride-hailing service was looking to get acquired. Qatalyst has been involved in the sale of other tech companies, including LinkedIn's recent $26.2 billion deal with Microsoft. Zimmer told the audience Tuesday that those for-sale murmurings were mischaracterizations, but he would not give specifics.
Lyft executives say the company has habitually taken market share from Uber in major US cities. Lyft now serves up 17 million rides per month, which is a record for the company, and has enough cars on the road that the average wait time for a ride is just three minutes. Zimmer said Lyft's focus on the customer allows the company to stay competitive with Uber.
"This is not a newly competitive environment for us," he said. "We were born in that competition and that's where we thrive."