TaskRabbit Exploring Potential Sale

Recode reports that home-services freelancer marketplace TaskRabbit is seeking a strategic acquirer that could help expand its market. The company has hired Bank of America Merril Lynch to advise on a possible sale after a recent funding round generated inquiries from an unidentified potential buyer. There are now multiple interested buyers, according to unnamed sources.

CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot says acquisition talks are “opportunistic,” and the company has enough cash to continue expanding on its own. According to the company, it is profitable in individual markets, close to overall profitability, and expanding rapidly.

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One cloud on the horizon is shifting attitudes about the so-called “gig economy,” of which TaskRabbit, founded in 2008, was an early champion. While platforms like Uber and Fiverr have touted the flexibility they offer workers, those who rely on gigs for their income have also complained about the lack of benefits or job security, and often unrelenting work hours.

That has led to pushes including an effort to unionize Uber drivers, and the possibility of broader changes to labor laws, though those are seen as unlikely under the Trump administration. Increased requirements for pay or benefits for gig economy workers would be a serious headwind for companies like TaskRabbit.

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