E-scooter company Bird files for bankruptcy

Global e-scooter company Bird has seen better days – it has confirmed that it is filing for bankruptcy for its service in the US, while keeping its Canadian and European markets intact for the time being.

Bird released a press release this morning announcing it has entered “into a financial restructuring process aimed at strengthening its balance sheet and better positioning the company for long-term, sustainable growth.” The company said it will continue to “operate as usual” during the process by maintaining service and commitments to its partner cities, fleet managers, and employees..

Bird runs its operations in some 350 cities around the world, with the bulk of those being in the US. The company was founded in 2017 by Travis VanderZanden, a former Lyft and Uber executive, as one of the key dockless micromobility players on the scene.

In 2021, Bird went public via a SPAC merger, but its stock plummeted from more than $2 billion at its New York Stock Exchange debut to $70 million a year later, which earned it a stern warning that its stock had dipped too low. In September, its stock became delisted from the NYSE because of its inability to lift its market cap to $15 million. Bird recently acquired its rival company Spin from Berlin-based Tier Mobility, and then announced a round of layoffs.

According to Bloomberg, the Miami-based company listed assets and liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million in a court filing. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy will give Bird a chance to restructure its finances without the disruption of its day-to-day operations, with the ultimate goal of selling its assets within the next 90 to 120 days, according to the press release.

CEO Michael Washinushi, who will remain at the helm for the time being, said: “We are making progress toward profitability and aim to accelerate that progress by right-sizing our capital structure through this restructuring. We remain focused on our mission to make cities more liveable by using micromobility to reduce car usage, traffic, and carbon emissions.”

Bird’s Canadian and European operations are not part of this bankruptcy filing, and will “continue to operate as normal,” the company said. Of course, European regulations are putting a squeeze on some e-scooter companies, with Paris outright banning e-scooter services and Madrid and other cities clamping down – but still, while it’s been bad news for shared e-scooters, Parisians are now seeking out other shared mobility devices.

Rival company Micromobility’s stock was recently delisted from the Nasdaq three years after it went public via a SPAC merger. Also, Europe’s Tier laid off 22% of its staff.

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