SoftBank Vision Fund in talks to invest $1.5b in Southeast Asia’s Grab

SoftBank Group Corp is nearing a deal to invest $1.5 billion in Grab, three times a previously expected $500 million, as Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing firm looks to expand, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Six-year-old Grab has so far raised over $6.5 billion, led by SoftBank, Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Toyota Motor Corp. After a fundraising in August, Grab was valued at around $11 billion.

SoftBank first bought a stake worth $250 million in Grab in 2014 just as Grab began competing with Uber Technologies in Southeast Asia.

Its latest funding in the ride-hailing firm will be made from its Vision Fund, which after raising more than $93 billion last year is the world’s largest private-equity fund.

SoftBank is expected to finalize its investment in Grab this month and an announcement is likely next month, said the person, declining to be identified as the information is not public.

Grab declined to comment, while a SoftBank spokesman did not have an immediate comment.

Reuters reported in October that SoftBank was closing in on a deal to invest about $500 million in Grab, underscoring the tech investment giant’s confidence in the ride-hailing firm’s growth.

Grab acquired Uber’s Southeast Asian business this year in exchange for a stake in itself and has since expanded its operations rapidly.

Grab is looking to use part of the funds to expand further in Indonesia, where it has partnerships with fintech firm OVO and e-commerce platform Tokopedia, the person said.

The firm is looking to transform itself into a leading consumer technology group offering, besides ride-hailing, services such as food delivery, electronic money transfers and mobile payments in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.

Grab and its Indonesian rival Go-Jek are raising billions of dollars and investing in the race to corner a bigger share of Southeast Asia, as more of the region’s 650 million consumers go online and use smartphones to shop, commute and make payments.

Go-Jek kicked off a trial launch of its ride-hailing service in parts of Singapore last month and plans to roll out an array of services through its app in early 2019, challenging dominant player Grab in the small city-state.

Reuters

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.

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

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  • 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.