Further to our previous report of Grab is close to taking over Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, financial news agency Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported today that the two companies had finally come to an agreement on the sell, and would announce the deal as early as next Monday in Singapore, where Grab is headquartered.
KrASIA first reported the potential sell in January as we heard at that time that Grab was then in talks with Uber to take over the latter’s business in Southeast Asia.
The latest report reveals that the sellout will include both Uber’s hailing business and Uber Eats in the region. After the deal, Uber will have a stake of between 25 percent and 30 percent in the newly formed business, the people told Bloomberg.
The deal, slated to be announced next Monday, marks Uber’s second retreat in Asia as its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been striving to take the company to the public market.
Uber made an exit in highly competitive China market in 2016, when the global ride-hailing giant had locked in a money-bleeding war with local rivals to grab market share through subsidizing drivers and passengers. Uber eventually sold its China unit to rival Didi and took a 17.5 percent stake in the new combined business in an arrangement similar to the current Uber-Grab deal.
In addition, SoftBank, the Japanese behemoth technology investor was thought to be also a powerful influencerbehind such arrangements.
SoftBank, shelled out billions for Grab and Uber, sits on the boards of both companies. According to people close to and familiar with the thoughts Masayoshi Son, founder and chief exec of the world’s largest tech investor, SoftBank will be playing a consolidating role in its investments.
Unlike traditional venture capitals, which usually avoid investing into the same type of companies in the same sector and let them compete against each other, SoftBank, with its significant treasure trove, acts more like “a private-equity buyout firm that’s looking to consolidate a market.”
Ride-hailing in SE Asia is a highly incentive-driven business.
Grab is currently valued at US$ 6 billion on CB Insights’ global unicorn list, also the most valuable unicorn in the region of SE Asia.
Grab said the company does not comment on market speculation. And Uber has not responded to our request for comment.