With Uber’s reputation already suffering, the ride-sharing company may receive a swift kick while it’s down. Alphabet Inc., a multinational collection of companies including Google, might invest $1 billion in Lyft, Uber’s main competitor.
While officials for each company declined to comment on recent discussions, the move could allow the San Francisco-based Lyft to expand while its primary competitor falls behind.
What’s more, the possible deal comes during a big year for Lyft. The ride-hailing service has seen rides increase 34% in comparison to the last quarter of 2016; Lyft has also added 100 new markets within the United States in 2017.
Lyft’s progression will also include a new self-driving division. In late July, Lyft officials signed a lease for a 50,000-square-foot space on the first floor of a Palo Alto facility where company executives plan to build out several labs and testing spaces for autonomous technology, according to TechCrunch.
In addition, Lyft has gained powerful allies in Ford, General Motors, Waymo, Jaguar Land Rover, and Nutonomy, all in the last year. Each partnership has expanded vehicles within Lyft’s fleet and will work toward Lyft officials’ autonomous driving goals.
“We’re the fastest growing ride-share company in the United States right now,” said John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder. “I think the recent partnership with General Motors as well as a few other partnerships gives us advantages others don’t have.”
Uber, on the other hand, is facing troubling issues on a couple different fronts. Most recently, London announced it is banning Uber from operating after drivers failed to report multiple criminal offenses on their background checks.
On top of issues in the United Kingdom, self-driving car company Waymo (another subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.) is currently suing Uber—allegedly due to stolen trade secrets.
If Uber continues to struggle, and the $1 billion investment does go through, Lyft leaders could solidify the company’s top position in the U.S. market.