Grab in advanced talks to buy into Uber's Southeast Asia business: Source

Grab in advanced talks to buy into Uber's Southeast Asia business: Source

FILE PHOTO: A Grab motorbike helmet is displayed during Grab's fifth anniversary news conferen
FILE PHOTO: A Grab motorbike helmet is displayed during Grab's fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

SINGAPORE: Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing firm, Grab, is in advanced negotiations to buy parts of Uber's business in the region, said a source with knowledge of the talks, in what would be Uber's second retreat from an Asian market.

Ride-hailing companies have been offering heavy discounts and promotions in Southeast Asia, a region of about 640 million people, to attract both riders and drivers.

To fund their expansion plans, both Grab and Uber have raised billions of dollars from global investors.

A multi-billion dollar funding in Uber in January by SoftBank Group, already one of Grab's main investors, had opened up the possibility of a consolidation with Grab.

Grab's deal with Uber would be similar to the one struck in China in 2016, when Didi Chuxing bought out Uber's China business and gave a stake in return, said the source, who declined to be identified as the talks are private.

As part of the deal in Southeast Asia, Uber will get a stake in Grab, which has an estimated valuation of about US$6 billion.

During a visit to India last month, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi pledged to continue investing aggressively in Southeast Asia even though the US ride-hailing firm expects to lose money in the fast-growing market.

Grab declined to comment on the Reuters story while Uber did not immediately respond to Reuters' queries.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that Grab was close to finalizing a deal to acquire Uber's business in certain markets in Southeast Asia and may sign a deal this week or next, citing people familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: Reuters

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