Uber ride-hailing provider could sell its Southeast Asian business to rival Grab according to television network CNBC over the week end.
Uber Technologies is preparing to sell its South-east Asia ride-hailing business to Singapore-based Grab in return for a substantial stake in the company, CNBC reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
No deal has been reached yet and the timing of any deal is uncertain, the report said.
Reuters had reported in November that SoftBank Group’s multi-billion dollar investment in Uber had opened up the possibility of combining it with other ride-hailing assets that the Japanese group owns.
SoftBank has also been a big investor in Uber’s rivals across Asia, including Southeast Asia’s Grab, China’s DiDi Chuxing, and India’s Ola, as it works to achieve founder Masayoshi Son’s vision of a future driven by artificial intelligence and interconnected devices.
Grab was the top-ranked ride-hailing app in combined monthly active users on iPhone and Android phones in 2017 in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, according to mobile data analytics firm App Annie.
Grab today dominates the ride-sharing market in Southeast Asia, boasting 2.3 million drivers in 168 cities across eight countries. Despite Uber’s investment in the region, the US based ride hailing company has struggled to beat Grab.
Grab success is due to its local culture which has shown more flexibility at attracting consumers as well as transport provider. For example, Grab has been cooperating with local taxi companies in Southeast Asia and proposes cash options for payment to drivers.
As early as Monday, both Grab and Uber managements refuted the report published by CNBC.
(Sources: Reuters and CNBC)