After weeks of speculation, Uber finally confirmed today that it's going to merge its Southeast Asia business with local rival Grab in exchange for a significant stake in the company. Uber will also take a seat on Grab's board.
"This deal is a testament to Uber's exceptional growth across South-East Asia over the last five years", said Uber CEO Khosrowshahi.
As per the sources, the latest stake-sale would be Uber's last minority deal as the company has no intention of taking minority stake in any future merger with global competitors. SoftBank also invested in Grab.
"All Uber employees in its SEA operations will receive offers to join Grab".
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A shake-up in Asia's fiercely competitive ride-hailing industry became likely earlier this year when Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund made a multi-billion dollar investment in Uber. Once that date arrives, you'll have to use the Grab app (Android and iOS) if you want to hail a ride in this region. "It will help us double down on our plans for growth".
The move will affect Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam while Taxi drivers and private hire auto drivers can both use the Grab app with the option of GrabTaxi (Metered) for those who use metered fares.
Grab's chief executive Anthony Tan said the acquisition marks the beginning of a new era.
Grab has been seeking to dominate the regional market for auto and motorbike hailing and has expanded into other areas, recently announcing plans to partner with a Japanese credit card company to provide credit to millions of people without bank accounts. Uber meanwhile continues exiting markets, including the aforementioned China and also Russian Federation.
SoftBank is also one of the main investors in several of Uber's rivals, including Grab, China's Didi Chuxing, and India's Ola. According to reports, the company suffered $4.46 billion in losses previous year, but improved over time, losing $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.5 billion in the third quarter.