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Uber's New Strategy: Buy Unprofitable Companies, ???, Profit


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Uber's new strategy is just like its old one. Make its money-losing business bigger by buying other money-losing businesses like Postmates. From a report: After Uber's merger talks with food-delivery company Grubhub fell apart, Uber has now set its sights on Postmates, according to the New York Times. Uber Eats, the ride-hailing company's food-delivery unit, is just as unprofitable as the rest of Uber's business operations, but that hasn't stopped the company from reportedly offering $2.6 billion to takeover Postmates. Uber has been searching for ways to stay afloat during the pandemic as its core ride-hailing business has collapsed and its business model of misclassifying driver-employees as independent contractors to save on labor costs is coming under increased scrutiny in California and nationwide. In its Q1 earnings call, Uber reported that rides were down over 80 percent and it had recorded an eye-watering loss of $2.9 billion (it has never recorded a profit), but there was a bright spot: food-delivery was up by 54 percent since last year. Still, it's not clear that Uber Eats -- or an acquisition of Postmates -- will be enough to save the company. In March, Rideshare Drivers United, an app-based driver advocacy group in California, released a wage claim tool to let drivers claim stolen wages and unpaid business expenses; a mere 4,000 Uber and Lyft drivers have filed claims in excess of $1 billion. Last year, there were well over half a million Uber and Lyft drivers last year and reports have pegged Uber's annual driver retention rate at around 4 percent. Mind you, this is only in California and only includes wage claims -- there is also a growing call for Uber to pay state unemployment insurance taxes in not only California but the rest of the country, a prospect that could cost billions more if realized.

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