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SF Yellow Cab sold to competitor for $810,000

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Yellow Cab, which declared bankruptcy in 2016, was sold at auction on Friday to Big Dog City Corporation, which runs CityWide Taxi in The City. (Cindy Chew/2008 S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco’s largest cab company, Yellow Cab Co-Op, was sold to a rival cab company Friday for $810,000 — less than it costs to buy a house in the City by the Bay.

The purchase by Big Dog City Corporation, which runs CityWide Taxi, came after a heated bout of bidding with Cabtopia, a taxi operator from Minneapolis, Minn.

“This was a good sale price for the company,” said Sam Singer, a spokesman-at-large working for Yellow Cab’s bankruptcy trustee, Randy Sugarman.

“This allows us to move forward,” he said. “We’re very pleased with the outcome.”

Yellow Cab’s assets totaled $8 million, and its liabilities totaled $26 million, according to its bankruptcy filings, and CityWide will assume those assets. Yellow Cab first declared bankruptcy in January 2016, which was first reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

The sale signals a major blow to the taxi industry by ride-hail rivals Uber and Lyft in San Francisco, taxi industry insiders previously told the Examiner. But though tech-app enabled companies pushed Yellow Cab over the edge, they said it was a number of multimillion dollar lawsuits from collisions that led the company to the precipice.

“The reason Yellow is going down I’d say is more because of their auto accidents, their liabilities,” John Lazar, owner of Luxor Cab previously told the Examiner, adding, “They got beat up in court.”

Not all of Yellow Cab’s assets will go to CityWide, as Sugarman sold its taxi lot in an effort to pay those Yellow Cab owed millions in lawsuit fees to, including Ida Fua, who was in a Yellow Cab collision and sued the co-op for $8 million.

Fua is one of Yellow Cab’s largest creditors, and among those whose myriad collision lawsuit wins ultimately tanked the co-op, taxi industry insiders told the Examiner.

CityWide did obtain Yellow Cab’s color scheme, its locally famous (415) 333-3333 phone number, 160 of its cabs and the sublease to Yellow Cab’s property.

Another 123 cabs are owned by Ford Motor Company, which will “ultimately sell them” because debt is still owed on them, said Singer, and another 158 Yellow Cab vehicles will be sold later.

There was some question Friday in a Northern District bankruptcy court if CityWide would emerge as the leading bidder for Yellow Cab.

Big Dog, representing CityWide, opened bidding for Yellow Cab at $525,000, which Cabtopia raised to $565,000, and raised each bid subsequently by $10,000 to $45,000 increments. Cabtopia bowed out after Big Dog’s bid of $810,000 and requested to be a “backup bidder” in case the sale to CityWide did not go through.

The transfer of assets may be compete as late as April 29, according to attorneys in bankruptcy court Friday.

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