As its core ride-hailing business remains depressed by the pandemic, Uber is making yet another big bet that food delivery will stay as a big part of its business.
On Tuesday, the company announced plans to acquire Drizly, a Boston-based maker of an alcohol delivery app, for about $1.1 billion in cash and stock.
Uber plans to integrate Drizly into its system, allowing Drizly to reach Uber’s customers while Uber, well, lists more alcohol. It’s worth noting that alcohol sales have boomed in the pandemic.
Having raised some $85 million or so in its lifetime, per Pitchbook, Drizly is backed by investors including Avenir Growth Capital, Tiger Global Management, Polaris Partners, and Continental Partners.
There are also few other ways to look at this deal, beyond Uber’s own decision to double down on its lifeline in the pandemic, food delivery.
SoftBank has long been pursuing a last-mile delivery web with its investments—look no further than its bets in DoorDash in the U.S., Rappi in Latin America, and Didi in Asia, to name a few. Backed by the Japanese conglomerate, Uber’s acquisition is a deepening of that trend. The Uber news also won’t be the first time a SoftBank portfolio company has jumped into alcohol delivery: Daily-goods delivery company, GoPuff, acquired liquor store chain Bevmo! for about $350 million in December. The CEO of Philadelphia-based GoPuff framed the acquisition as a way for the company to enter California, Bevmo!’s home base.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, meanwhile, is known for his dealmaking to build out travel company Expedia, a strategy that seems to have carried over into his time at the ride-hailing company: Uber earlier this year acquired food delivery rival Postmates for about $2.7 billion. In 2019, it acquired a majority stake in grocery delivery startup Cornershop.
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