UPDATE: Oct. 5, 2023: Bird issued layoffs two weeks after acquiring Spin, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday. The story cited an email from interim CEO Michael Washinushi that stated the shared micromobility company needed to reduce redundancies in roles and scope “that the business isn’t able to maintain while meeting its goals.” TechCrunch was unable to confirm how many employees were laid off.
Bird Global announced Tuesday it has acquired Skinny Labs, which operates the Spin shared e-bike and e-scooter business, from Berlin-based Tier Mobility for $19 million. According to Bird, the transaction makes it the largest micromobility operator in North America by market share. Spin will continue as a wholly owned subsidiary of Bird Rides.
While micromobility in the form of electric bikes and scooters has grown in popularity among users, U.S. shared micromobility providers including Bird, Lyft and Spin have laid off staff, left large markets and, in the case of Lyft, looked to restructure the company. Bird has struggled with net losses and said in its Aug. 9 earnings report that it may need to downsize or seek bankruptcy protection if it can’t raise capital or generate sufficient cash.
The acquisition had the support of MidCap Financial Investment and MidCap Financial Trust, managed or advised by Apollo Capital Management. The deal provides Spin with $10 million in upfront cash, $6 million in a vendor takeback and $3 million as a holdback.
Spin has a fleet of over 60,000 vehicles and operates in more than 50 North American cities. With the acquisition of Spin, Bird now operates in 87% of the 50 most populous cities in the United States and Canada that have a shared micromobility program, it says. The transaction is expected to have upwards of $20 million in synergies and be immediately accretive to earnings for Bird.
Bird, through Spin, will now pick up operations in cities including Baltimore, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C., along with large university campuses including Penn State and the University of Michigan. Bird lost its permit to operate in Baltimore last month.
"Spin is a great financial and strategic acquisition for Bird and we expect this acquisition will enable us to achieve long term sustainable profitability,” said Michael Washinushi, Bird’s interim CEO, in a press release. “In addition to our overall market leadership in North America, the company now holds a leading market share position in key markets, more new vehicles, cutting-edge technology and a significantly stronger financial position.”
Spin CEO Philip Reinckens said in the press release that “Together Bird and Spin create a powerful player in the North America market — one that is focused on responsible partnership, bringing reliable alternative transportation options to the communities we serve, and creating a more sustainable future.”