Uber exits Southeast Asia, sells operations to rival Grab

New hires relax at a lounge area in a Grab office in Singapore Sept 23 2016

As part of the transaction, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Singapore-based Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board.

Amid fierce competition, ride-hailing app Uber is reportedly selling its Southeast Asian share of the business to Grab, its Singapore-based competitor.

Grab also plans to enhance other services in southeast Asia including its marketplace for shared bicycles GrabCycle, service for on-demand bus routes called GrabShuttle, and its mobile wallet GrabPay.

For Softbank, the deal will help it "double down" on its plans for growth and invest in products and technology. CEO Khosrowshahi said on Monday in his letter to its staff that consolidation is not "the strategy of the day", according to DealStreetAsia.

Uber's first such deal was with Didi in China.

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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. Grab has since said it will expand its existing GrabFood businesses in Indonesia and Thailand to Singapore and Malaysia - following the integration of the Uber Eats business. This is the third such deal that Uber has inked after struggling to compete in some key markets so many have understandably been concerned whether the company is going to make this a habit.

Uber is preparing a potential initial public offering in 2019, but a year ago it lost $4.5bn as it underwent a fundamental shake-up following a harassment scandal.

Chief Executive of Grab, Anthony Tan said,"Today's acquisition marks the beginning of a new era". It's not only the ride-sharing service that will be taken over by Grab.

Uber's brand may be doomed to complete disappearance in Asia as the company left China past year after merging with Didi Chuxing, China. Its investment of $700 million in the Southeast and about $2 billion in China but losing to Didi there, are two of the American ride-hailing company's recent-most major financial setbacks amid all turmoil.

At the start of this year, the Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank invested $9.3 billion in Uber and told the company to focus on its "core markets" in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Australia.

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