Uber Sells Southeast Asia Business to Grab

Ride-hailing company Grab is taking over US rival Uber Technologies’ operations in Southeast Asia in the largest deal of its kind in Southeast Asia.

On Sunday, the company said that it would sell its Southeast Asia ride and food-delivery businesses to Grab, a rival based in Singapore, in the latest move to shore up its finances and refocus its business ahead of a planned public listing.

Uber will get a 27.5 percent stake in Grab in exchange. Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, will join Grab’s board. Further financial terms were not disclosed.

On its Singapore website, Grab said passengers could expect better service with more drivers and transport options available on one app and that fares would not change. For drivers, it said the benefits and incentives structure remained the same.

After a fierce battle, Uber sold its China operations to rival Didi Chuxing in 2016 in return for a stake, and last year the US firm merged in Russia with the taxi-hailing app of internet giant Yandex.

The deal with Grab—which operates in eight Southeast Asian countries—is similar to the one struck with Didi, and ends a fight for market share in a region that is home to some 650 million people and an increasingly affluent middle class.

“Today’s acquisition marks the beginning of a new era,” said Grab chief executive Anthony Tan. “The combined business is the leader in platform and cost efficiency in the region.”

Grab also offers a wide variety of ways for people to get around. In Singapore, you can hop on a GrabShuttle that, like a public bus, will take you between points along a fixed route. In jam-packed Jakarta, you can use Grab’s app to hail a nearby motorbike taxi right off the street, skipping the usual process of prebooking and waiting for the driver to arrive at your location.

Before the acquisition, Uber operated in 64 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries. Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia, also reflects the new direction the company is taking under Mr. Khosrowshahi, who replaced Travis Kalanick as chief executive last year.

Source: New York Times