Flexcar and Zipcar, two firms that popularized car-sharing but so far haven’t figured out how to make it pay, are merging in the hope that they might turn a profit within a year.
The Washington Post reports that Flexcar, which is led by America Online founder Steve Case, is merging with Zipcar, which is the larger of the two firms. The idea, Case said, is to quickly expand the market for car-sharing and position the new company — which will be called Zipcar — to go public.
“They’re both in turbo-growth mode,” Case told the Post. “We think the companies combined will be on a path to profitability in the next year or so, and with rapid and significant expansion will be ready” for an initial public offering of stock.
The two companies were founded in 1999 and lead a field that has grown to include two dozen competitors. The new Zipcar will serve some 50 cities in 23 states, two Canadian provinces and London. When the deal is done, the merged companies will have 180,000 members and a fleet of more than 5,000 cars.
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