App-based taxi service provider Ola on Friday termed "false" and "malicious" a media report claiming that certain of their investors are planning to sell their stake to rival Uber, and "ANI Technologies Private Limited, promoters of Ola, categorically denies the contents of a news article published by a Mumbai-based newspaper and its website, mentioning that certain investors in Ola plan to sell their stake to Uber," said Ola in a statement.
The cab aggregator said the news report attributed to an unnamed source is completely false, misleading, malicious and planted with an intention to harm the Ola brand.
"We are shocked and dismayed at the lack of journalistic ethics in carrying the story, despite our repeated denial to the reporter and the publication's editorial representatives," it said, adding the the report was published despite assurances it would not be carried by the newspaper as the company denied the speculation.
"We will initiate appropriate legal action and seek redressal and compensation for the damage caused to us by this irresponsible reporting from the newspaper," it said. It quoted Matrix Partners India MD Avnish Bajaj, who is one of its earliest investors, as saying that no stake sale discussions happened with Uber.
"No such discussions have taken place and even if we are approached anytime in the future, we have no intentions of selling to Uber. We believe we are pulling away and continue to gain market share over Uber in India," he said in the statement.
According to Bajaj, just one category of Ola's services, Ola Micro, is on road to becoming larger than entire Uber operations in India.
"We also hear this from employees who are leaving Uber for various jobs including wanting to work with Ola or other companies," he said, claiming Uber is frantically reacting to Ola's growth by resorting to front page advertisements, dramatic fare cuts and rapid knee jerk changes in its service categories.