Two small ride-hailing companies are combining in an effort to slow the march of Uber Technologies Inc. around the globe. Tel Aviv-based Gett Inc. said it’s paying $200 million to acquire Juno, a New York startup that endeared itself to drivers by offering company stock and better pay than Uber.
The Gett app is available in about 100 cities and is among the most popular ride-hailing services in Europe. But Uber has been gaining ground quickly there and is dominant in Juno’s sole market, New York City. Gett said the team behind Juno will oversee the combined U.S. group, which includes Gett’s operations in New York. The deal was reported earlier Wednesday by TechCrunch.
Juno’s strategy of catering to drivers has been effective in New York. Drivers said they like that Juno takes a lower commission than Uber or Lyft Inc. and appreciate the ability to take a stake in the business. By last summer, Juno had nearly overtaken Lyft by total drivers in New York, although it began to lose ground in the fall, according to statistics kept by the local taxi regulator. In recent months, Juno has been exploring an expansion into other American cities.
The deal marks the end of Juno’s program to distribute restricted stock units to drivers, according to Keren Kessel, a spokeswoman for Juno. She said eligible drivers will receive a payout “based on an independent valuation” of their stock. She declined to provide details on how much drivers should expect to receive. Drivers won’t be offered stock units in the future but may be eligible for cash bonuses based on how much they drive, Kessel said.
Juno sent emails to stock-eligible drivers on Wednesday with payment estimates, saying more information would be provided in the next few days. Juno also told drivers that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had previously asked the company to make changes to comply with federal law. Three messages reviewed by Bloomberg showed modest payouts. One driver who said he’s been driving full-time since June was told he’d receive $251.
—With Eric Newcomer
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.