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Uber to sell Southeast Asia unit to Grab: Report

The move may help the ride-hailing company cut back costs in preparation for an IPO - possibly next year.

ET Online|
Updated: Feb 17, 2018, 03.53 PM IST
Similar to its deal with Didi Chuxing in China, ride-hailing company Uber is reportedly planning to sell its Southeast Asia business to Grab for a sizable stake. According to a CNBC report, selling that operation to the Singapore-based company would help clean up the financials for an IPO - possibly next year.

Although no deal has been reached yet, the CNBC report quoted two sources with knowledge of the matter who say it is imminent.The move is said to mirror Uber's strategy in China where it sold its operation to Didi for a 20% ownership.

Grab - which claims to have 95% market share in taxi ride-hailing services - additionally provides car-pooling services too in more than 100 cities across Southeast Asia. A tie-up would also enable SoftBank - which has invested in both - to exert greater control over the global ride-sharing market. Additionally, it also owns shares in Ola, Didi and Brazil's 99.

Since taking over the reins last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has focused on cleaning up the company's battered reputation. In fact, Uber’s settlement with Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo last week is a feather in his cap.

"We strive to be and should be a brand that is as beloved as Amazon and Google," Khosrowshahi had said at a Goldman Sachs' conference last week. He also laid out the the company’s ambitions, which included dabbling its hands on food delivery, autonomous vehicles and even buses and two-wheelers.

The former Expedia CEO has also been working towards fine-tuning Uber's financials to push toward profitability. The company recently reported a loss of $4.5 billion for 2017 - hinting at further losses to achieve the aforementioned goals.

Uber reportedly lost $1.1 billion in the last three months of 2017 on revenue of $11.05 billion — results that reflect growing revenue and narrowing losses. Uber had lost $1.46 billion on revenue of $9.7 billion in the preceding quarter.

According to an earlier ET report, the San Francisco-based company has raised approximately $19 billion in funding and has a blended valuation of $54 billion, making it the biggest venture-backed publicly reporting private company.

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