SE Asian ride-hailing major Grab close to acquiring Uber’s business in the region

Grab co-founder Anthony Tan. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Grab, the dominant ride-hailing service in Southeast Asia, is close to finalizing a deal to acquire Uber Technologies Inc.’s business in the region and may sign a deal this week or next, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under terms of the proposed agreement, Grab would buy out Uber’s operations in certain markets in Southeast Asia and Uber will take a stake in Grab, the people said, asking not to be named because the talks are private. The structure would be similar to the deal Uber struck with Didi Chuxing in China in 2016, when the San Francisco-based company sold its local operation in exchange for equity in the company. Under a scenario being considered, Uber’s stake in Grab is likely to be in the high teens or 20 percent, said one of the people.

Grab has separately been in discussions with existing backers, including SoftBank Group Corp., and new investors for additional capital, according to people familiar with the talks. Grab was most recently valued at $6 billion, according to CB Insights. The current talks may still fall apart or the terms and timing may change.

Grab and Uber declined to comment.

For Grab co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Tan, the truce would bring to an end a bruising battle for leadership in Southeast Asia’s fast-growing ride-hailing market. The companies have been locked in a struggle for control of as many cities as possible across Southeast Asia, home to 620 million people.

Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been pushing to clean up the company’s financials in preparations for an initial public offering next year. Pulling out of markets like Southeast Asia would boost profits at a company that has burned through $10.7 billion since its founding nine years ago. Khosrowshahi signaled during a trip through Asia last month that he is committed to key markets such as Japan and India.

Japan’s SoftBank became the largest shareholder in Uber in January, setting off speculation that it would encourage ride-hailing startups in its portfolio to cut back on competing with each other. SoftBank also holds stakes in China’s Didi and Ola, the India startup vying with Uber for leadership in that market.

Grab, which has more than 81 million mobile app downloads, currently offers services in 178 cities across Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

 Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.