Since Sidecar is no longer in operation, what GM is really buying here are the assets. For example, GM hired around 20 Sidecar employees who understand ridesharing and put them to work on GM's urban mobility team. It also got a license to a 2002 patent that belongs to Sidecar CEO Sunil Paul for "System and method for determining an efficient transportation route." We assume the deal also includes all 15,000 of Sidecar's Twitter followers.
This is the second ridesharing deal GM has made in 2016, after its $500-million investment in Lyft a few weeks ago. If nothing else, it shows that GM is looking around to fill some holes in its mobility strategy. Based on what we have seen so far, the General lags a bit behind other automakers in the new mobility space. For example, Daimler and Ford have each had carsharing programs or partnerships for years now (Car2go and Zipcar, respectively) and are also moving into ridehailing (by buying Ridescout and mytaxi and with an unnamed, in-house program, respectively).
That being said, GM is not in last place – we're looking at you, Fiat Chrysler Automotive – and is now making moves in the OEM/ridehailing arena alongside BMW and its DriveNow program (which is currently suspended) and Toyota's HaMo. According to Bloomberg, GM's suite of mobility services is called Maven, so get ready to hear more about that in the near future.