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Grab acquires Uber: What this means for the 500+ employees involved
28 March 2018, 12:45 | Tara Lloyd
Arsenio Balisacan chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission
Ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to sell its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab, the firms said in a statement on Monday, marking the USA company's second retreat from an Asian market.
"We want to share some news with you - Uber will be combining our operations with Grab to lead you in the next chapter of ridesharing in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia", Uber said in an email to its users.
Grab said Monday that Uber will take a 27.5 per cent stake and a seat on its board as part of the deal. But the deal marks the latest retreat by the world's most valuable startup from a rapidly expanding arena: Uber sold its business in China to Didi in 2016 after a battle in which both burned through cash to court drivers and riders with rich subsidies. But its latest exit suggests Uber is more than ever dependent on its home market of North America, not unlike Khosrowshahi's previous USA -centric employer, Expedia Inc.
"It will help us double down on our plans for growth".
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"We maintain our "hold" call and DCF-based target price of $2.16, pending further information on the proposed ComfortDelGro-Uber deal", says lead analyst Cezzane See in a Tuesday report.
Grab provides services in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia. It sold off its China business to a competitor and partner, Didi Chuxing, taking a stake in Didi.
A top executive of Grab was quoted by Reuters as saying that the acquisition of Uber's Southeast Asia operation was driven independently by the two companies with the support of their common investor, Japan's SoftBank Group.
Uber is the largest firm of its kind with a presence in more than 600 cities, but it has been rocked by scandals and is facing fierce competition from rivals in Asia and Europe.
He pointed out that Uber is under pressure to be profitable for a 2019 initial public offering (IPO) that has been promised to shareholders.
The ride-hailing industry is facing a tough regulatory framework in Hong Kong as the city is yet to find out a way to legalize the Uber-type business model - providing public services with private cars - as the vehicle owners do not have third-party insurance to protect the passengers.
Considering that Uber incurred US$4.5 billion losses in its 2017 financial year, SoftBank's investment appears to be at a lofty level.
But he has a fight on his hands - Uber's losses in 2017 grew to United States dollars 4.5 billion from the USD 2.8 billion the company lost a year earlier.
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