Uber to buy shipping logistics firm Transplace for $2.25B

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Ride-sharing company Uber on Thursday announced that its trucking business will acquire transportation logistics company Transplace for $2.25 billion.

Uber Freight will acquire Transplace from TPG Capital, the private equity platform of alternative asset firm TPG.

Shares of Uber fell slightly on the news in early morning trading.

Uber said the deal will accelerate Uber Freight’s path to profitability and help the segment break even on an adjusted EBITDA basis by the end of 2022.

Uber Freight serves as a kind of middle man in the long-haul trucking business, connecting truckers with shippers.

The deal comes as the swift economic recovery from the pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of legacy shipping and logistics companies, Uber and Transplace pointed out in their announcement of the deal.

Trucker shortages have been a major headache for companies big and small across the country in recent months as businesses from restaurants and grocery stores to gas stations have tried to stock up on supplies to meet surging demand from customers.

And throughout the pandemic, unprecedented demand for e-commerce services pushed shipping infrastructure and companies, from trucking and rail to water and air freight, to their limits, leading to lengthy delays in deliveries.

“This is a significant step forward, not just for Uber Freight but for the entire logistics ecosystem,” Lior Ron, head of Uber Freight, said in a statement.

The sizeable acquisition is a rare move for Uber, which has spent recent years focusing on cutting costs, slimming down and trying to eke out a profit. Recently, the company has been focused on strengthening its Uber Eats segment, acquiring alcohol delivery company Drizly and food delivery service Postmates.

The deal could represent a shift in focus toward the shipping industry.

Frank McGuigan, CEO of Transplace, said the deal will give shippers “greater efficiency and transparency” and carriers will “benefit from the scale to drive improved operating ratios.”

“All in all, we expect to significantly reduce shipper and carrier empty miles to the benefit of highway and road infrastructures and the environment,” he said.

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