April 24, 2018

As Uber bows out, Grab is the only choice

27 March 2018, 03:17 | Kenneth Drake

Uber Sells Southeast Asian Operations to Rival Grab

Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi has been pushing to clean up the company’s financials in preparations for an initial public offering next year

Uber has agreed to sell its south-east Asia operations to local rival Grab for an undisclosed sum as it continues to retreat from the region.

Earlier today, Uber confirmed that it's bowing out of the Southeast Asian market and that it has sold its ride-hailing business as well as the Uber Eats division to Grab. Uber also operates in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. However, Uber will take 27.5% stake in Grab and its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board.

Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab announced Monday it has bought USA rival Uber's business in Southeast Asia, ending a fierce battle for market share in the region.

The deal was dismaying to many in Asia who have often compared the rival apps in search of the best deal. Uber has been trying to fight too many battles on too many fronts, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and through consolidating with rival businesses, it can retain a strategic investment in lucrative markets while focusing its own resources elsewhere.

As for existing Uber drivers, here's how the acquisition will affect them. The value of the deal has not been made public.

However Uber's Khosrowshahi, in a response to question from his employees affirms that the latest announcement is not a move to consolidate the business.

To minimise disruption, Grab is committed to cooperating with local regulators in relation to the acquisition and alongside Uber they are working to promptly migrate Uber drivers, riders, customers and merchant partners to the platform. With the combined business, Grab will drive towards becoming the #1 online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platform in Southeast Asia and a major player in food delivery.

Why Grab? Why not Uber?

Cu said that this was an important milestone in the ridesharing industry. And at the same time, Uber is also taking the heat in the form of high marketing expenses, required to keep up with Grab. Uber includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America among its core markets - regions where it has more than 50 percent market share and is profitable or sees a path to profitability. The US firm has taken 5.89 per cent stake in Didi.

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