Daimler buys majority stake in French car-ride app Chauffeur Prive

Daimler buys majority stake in French car-ride app Chauffeur Prive
FILE PHOTO - The Mercedes star logo of an E Coupe is pictured before the annual news conference of Daimler AG in Stuttgart, Germany, February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
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PARIS (Reuters) – German carmaker Daimler <DAIGn.DE> has agreed to buy a majority stake in Chauffeur Prive, a French rival to the larger Uber car-ride app, in the latest example of traditional companies looking to deal with challenges from technology-driven start-ups.

The deal was announced in a joint statement by both companies. The price of the acquisition, which will be carried out by the German company’s Daimler Mobility Services division, was not disclosed.

Chauffeur Prive was founded in 2011. The company says it has more than 1.5 million customers and access to 18,000 drivers, and the service is relatively popular in Paris.

Traditional automakers from around the world are examining how best to work on new, disruptive technologies – from electric vehicles to autonomous driving – that require hefty investment and have turned companies such as Google <GOOGL.O> and Tesla <TSLA.O> into rivals.

Daimler has already made forays into the growing industry of car-ride hailing mobile applications.

In June, Dubai-based ride hailing firm Careem said it would step up its expansion into new markets after raising $150 million from investors, which included Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding <4280.SE>.

Earlier this month, Daimler’s French rival Renault <RENA.PA> bought a stake in a glossy magazine publishing group, which it said formed part of its strategy to see how to keep travellers entertained in an era of driverless cars.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas)

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