On-demand black cab app Gett is buying up a long-established black cab fleet, upping its stake in the battle for London's roads.
Gett has made an all-cash offer for Radio Taxis owner Mountview House Group. It's understood to be a multi-million pound deal, however, the terms and value have not been disclosed.
"Radio Taxis has a long, proud history and we are delighted to bring such a great business into the Gett family. Alongside our cutting edge technology it is going to help to make Gett an even more powerful, global force for both our corporate customers and members of the public," said Gett's western Europe managing director Remo Gerber.
In addition to Radio Taxis, which was set up in the 1950s as an independent driver co-operative, Gett will acquire the group's smaller taxi firm Xeta and One Transport corporate taxi and private hire platform.
Gett lets users order black cabs on demand and boasts a fleet of ten thousand cab drivers who use the service already. The deal brings that total to 11,500 and with it access to several high profile corporate clients such as the BBC, HSBC, M&S and Eurostar.
The two businesses will gradually be merged over the coming months.
Talking to City A.M. Gerber said the deal would help it achieve its goal of being "the best and most comprehensive offering in the black cab business," creating a market "sustainable for drivers and passengers".
Its closest rival is homegrown business Hailo. The attempt of billion-dollar ride-hailing startup Uber to attract black cab drivers to its platform failed after offering the platform on a zero commission basis for a year.
"There was a very clear and unanimous response to that offering" said Gerber of the offer, who said there were few if any black cabs ever available, demonstrating the low interest among cabbies wanting to be on the platform.
Black cab drivers and Uber have long been at war over regulation of the new technology and rules by which they can work, leaving the majority of drivers reluctant to sign up with them.
In a note to Radio Taxi black cab drivers, Gett said: "This deal is all about strengthening our commitment to the trade and our faith in the long term future of black cabs in London... One of the aims of this acquisition is to get even more business back into licensed taxis, as part of the fightback against the new challenges you’re seeing on the streets."