Sunday 19 May 2019

Uber sells Southeast Asia business to regional rival Grab in latest international retreat

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Ravender Sembhy

Ride-hailing giant Uber is to sell its business in Southeast Asia to regional rival Grab in a move that signals another international retreat for the US firm.

It comes after Uber also pulled out of China and Russia in recent years and as new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi attempts to turn its fortunes around.

Under the terms of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab, which operates ridesharing, food delivery and financial services businesses. Uber will also have a seat on Grab's board.

Grab functions across Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and Cambodia, handling more than a billion transactions a year.

Chief executive and co-founder Anthony Tan said the Uber deal "marks the beginning of a new era" in using mobile businesses to provide an array of services.

Grab said it plans to expand its food delivery business to Singapore and Malaysia after integrating it with Uber Eats.

The company also plans to expand GrabCycle for shared bicycles and "personal mobility devices" and is planning GrabShuttle services for on-demand bus routes.

Uber drivers will switch to the Grab online platform and the Uber app will stop working in Asia in two weeks.

Since taking the top job last year, Mr Khosrowshahi has been attempting to make the company profitable before a mooted initial public offering.

Uber booked a full-year net loss of 4.5 billion US dollars in 2017 in the wake of several scandals.

In China, Uber has sold off its local business to competitor Didi Chuxing, also taking a stake in the Asian firm. In Russia, it agreed to merge its ride-hailing business in the country with local player Yandex.

Press Association

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