Uber is planning its largest funding round ever, setting a goal of £1.3 billion at a valuation of $50 billion (£32 billion). That’s a £6 billion increase on the California-based taxi service’s previous valuation in mid 2014.
It follows reports that Uber is planning a £2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s Here Maps. The funding round could provide enough cash to pay for the acquisition, adding Uber’s own available funds into the pot.
In February, Uber held another funding round for £650 million, alongside £1 billion in debt financing with Goldman Sachs and £388 million from Baidu in December 2014.
Here Maps would allow Uber the chance to move away from Google Maps, removing the licensing costs associated with using a third-party mapping platform. Uber and Google’s relationship has soured following news Uber is working on self-driving cars, and Google is working on a taxi service.
Uber might also need more money for expansion costs, considering almost every region has taken some issue to the way the mobile service interacts with customers and taxi drivers, including battles to stay legal in countries like China, India and South Korea.
The rise in value has been caused by the growth of Uber in major European cities, alongside the launch of Uber Fresh and Uber’s merchant delivery service. The taxi service is utilising its current workforce to send parcels and food to customers, for a bit of extra money.
This new investment in delivery services could add billions in value, especially if Uber starts competing with UPS, FedEx and other postal services for contracts. It would also make drivers more competitive to stay on the road in order to make more money.
Uber has a list of investors lined up for the latest funding round. Even though it is taking a lot of venture capital, it doesn’t mean an IPO isn’t around the corner, especially with the massive valuation most analysts put on Uber.