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Uber is in advanced talks to acquire engineers from the valet startup Luxe

The deal could also involve some technology.

Ali Fedotowsky Holiday Shopping At Santa Monica Place Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Santa Monica Place
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Uber has held advanced discussions to acquire engineering talent — and possibly some technology — from the struggling car-valet startup Luxe, according to a person familiar with the talks.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Thursday that Uber had been interviewing Luxe engineers this week to figure out who to keep in a deal. The paper also reported that the two sides had discussed including technology Luxe had been developing related to a car-rental service it had yet to get off the ground.

Luxe CEO Curtis Lee would not join Uber in a deal, a source told Recode, and is still working on a reincarnation of Luxe that the company told customers is coming when it shut down its valet app in the past two months. Lee would likely also retain the Luxe brand name and some of the company’s technology.

An Uber rep declined to comment. Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Deal terms could not be learned.

Until recently, Luxe allowed drivers in a few cities to summon someone to valet park their car via the startup’s app. More recently, the company had offered customers the option to valet park at some Luxe-branded garages, too. The company, however, had struggled to build a growing, sustainable business, in part because of expensive garage contracts, a recent report said.

Luxe had raised more than $75 million, including from Hertz, and still has money in the bank, a source said. If you download the company’s app today, you are greeted by a message that says: “We’re cooking up something new and exciting that’ll make owning a car pain-free.”

The talks come as Uber is embroiled in the latest controversy in a string of high-profile controversies. Recode reported on Wednesday that an Uber executive had been fired for obtaining the medical records of an Uber passenger who was raped by a driver.

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