Citymapper, the urban transport app which ranks among Britain’s most prominent consumer technology companies, is in talks to be bought by a multibillion dollar New York-based rival.
Sky News has learnt that Citymapper, which launched in 2010, is in advanced discussions about a takeover by Via Transportation.
City sources said a deal could be struck within weeks, although there was no certainty that an agreement would be reached.
Any transaction would be likely to value Citymapper at a fraction of the $325m it was reported to have raised funding at in 2016, they said.
Via recently secured $110m in new financing from investors at a valuation of $3.5bn, saying it would use the new capital “to expand its product suite and further its vision of providing the end-to-end digital infrastructure for public mobility”.
The US-based company’s shareholders include the London-based venture capital fund 83North.
Citymapper has been backed for years by well-known early-stage investors including Balderton Capital and Index Ventures.
Its geographical coverage comprises scores of cities globally, making it a major player among urban transit-related platforms.
Citymapper claims to have 50m users around the world.
Established in 2010 by Azmat Yusuf, a former Google employee, it pledged to address some of the entrenched challenges of urban mobility.
Its app enables travellers in cities like London to buy an integrated pass that can be used on public transport methods including buses and trains, as well as private-hire vehicles such as cabs and cycles.
In Europe, it has operated in places such as Barcelona, Copenhagen, Milan and Paris, while in the US it has had a presence in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
The company has also launched in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Tokyo.
The company briefly experimented with running its own bus service in London in an attempt to forge new revenue streams.
In 2020, it hired Raine Group, the New York-based merchant bank, to advise it on discussions with prospective buyers which at the time included some of the world’s largest technology companies.
At the time, Apple, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, were all touted as potential suitors.
That process was rapidly curtailed by the pandemic, however, when lockdowns had a devastating impact on urban transit activity.
In its accounts for the year ended 31 December 2021, Citymapper said it “continued to be impacted by Covid-19 with movement restrictions and work from home guidance still in force for much of the year, impacting revenue”.
“Despite this short-term impact, the long-term outlook is positive, with app engagement reaching an all-time high by the second half of 2021 and app usage returning to pre-pandemic levels and continuing to grow organically, subsequent to year-end.”
It added: “In addition to its consumer business lines, Citymapper is now uniquely placed to tackle the multibillion B2B [business-to-business” mobility technology market.”
Citymapper said it lost £7.4m, slightly higher than the previous year’s loss of £6.4m, which it attributed to increased staff and server costs.
It said in the accounts that it had net assets of £6.1m.
In 2021, it conducted a crowdfunding round to strengthen its balance sheet, raising £6m amid strong demand from investors.
That raise appeared to take place at a valuation of just over £190m.
A spokeswoman for Via declined to comment on the talks, while neither Citymapper, its founder or Balderton Capital, which is represented on the Citymapper board, responded to a request for comment.