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Alphabet leads $1 billion Lyft investment

Josh Edelson / AP

Google parent company Alphabet today announced that it has led a $1 billion in ride-hailing company Lyft at an $11 billion post-money valuation, one month after Axios first reported that the two companies were in talks. The investment came via CapitalG, Alphabet's growth equity unit, with CapitalG partner David Lawee joining Lyft's board of directors.

Why it matters: Alphabet was an early investor in Lyft rival Uber via its Google Ventures unit, but since has become a legal antagonist.

Via Lawee: "Ridesharing is still in its early days and we look forward to seeing Lyft continue its impressive growth."

Stats: Lyft reports that it is giving around one million rides per say, and so far has given more rides in 2017 than in all prior years combined. It also claims to be available to 95% of the U.S. population, including state-wide coverage in 41 states.

Up round: Lyft received a $7.5 billion post-money valuation after raising $650 million in venture funding earlier this year led by Japan's Rakuten. It is not commenting on what other investors participated in the new, CapitalG-led round.

Price point: The Information last summer reported that General Motors had expressed interest in buying Lyft at $6 billion, but that the ride-hail company was holding out for $9 billion (i.e., $2b less than the new valuation). GM was, and remains, a Lyft investor.

Next: This deal certainly raises questions about whether Google Ventures will sell some or all of its Uber shares into a large secondary tender being prepared by Japan's SoftBank.

GV spokesperson: "GV and CapitalG each run entirely independently, and we each make our own investment decisions. Like any other VC on Sand Hill Road, this means that sometimes we co-invest, and sometimes we back competitors."

Mike Allen 13 hours ago
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A huge clue about Mueller's endgame

Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Amy Harder 15 hours ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.