Electric scooter manufacturer Bird files for bankruptcy

Electric scooter maker Bird Global filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, a remarkable descent for a company once valued at $2.5 billion.

The Miami-based company filed for Chapter 11 in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bird has a restructuring agreement in place with creditors that includes the sale of assets in bankruptcy, it said Wednesday in a announcement.

Apollo Global Management and other borrowers are providing $25 million in financing to help Bird continue its operations during the restructuring.

Founded in 2017 and backed by Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners, Bird’s business grew rapidly and the company went public in 2021 through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Among Wall Street’s so-called unicorns, Bird at one point had a market value of $2.5 billion. But its shares fell more than 90% within six months, and its losses began to pile up.

It was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in September after admitting it had overstated its revenue for more than two years. Travis VanderZanden, Bird’s founder, left the company in June.

A year ago, Bird warned investors that without a cash infusion it might not be able to continue.

The company operates a short-term scooter rental service in more than 350 cities. Its Canadian and European units are not part of the case and will not be affected, Bird noted in its release.

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A fun eco-friendly means of getting around, electric scooters have lost some of their original luster as emergency rooms report an increase in injuries related to the products, which have also been the subject of numerous product recalls and also found to be a fire hazard.

In addition, pedestrian complaints and safety concerns have led cities from San Francisco to New York to either ban or restrict e-scooters. Paris earlier this year rental of e-scooters prohibited due to riders abandoning them on sidewalks and in parks.

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