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Grab, Uber SEA confirm merger, with Uber taking 27.5% stake in Grab

SINGAPORE — Grab has acquired Uber’s operations in South-east Asia, including in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, in the largest-ever deal of its kind in the region.

SINGAPORE — Grab has acquired Uber’s operations in South-east Asia, including in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, in the largest-ever deal of its kind in the region.

As part of the deal, Grab will be integrating Uber's ride-sharing and food delivery business into its existing platforms, and Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Grab, the Singapore-based company announced on Monday (March 26) in a media release. Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will also join Grab’s board.

Uber drivers and riders, UberEats customers, merchant partners and delivery partners will be migrated to the Grab platform, as the two companies vowed to work together to ensure a quick transition.

The Uber app will continue to operate for two weeks, while Uber Eats will run until the end of May, after which Uber delivery and restaurant partners will move to the GrabFood platform.

Grab group chief executive Anthony Tan said of the deal: "We are humbled that a company born in South-east Asia has built one of the largest platforms that millions of consumers use daily and provides income opportunities to over five million people.

"Today's acquisition marks the beginning of a new era... Together with Uber, we are now in an even better position to fulfill our promise to outserve our customers."

Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling said that the company would "rapidly and efficiently" expand GrabFood into the South-east Asia region in the next quarter.

"GrabFood will also be another great use case to drive the continued adoption of GrabPay mobile wallet and support our growing financial services platform,” she added.

Mr Khosrowshahi said the deal would help Uber double down on its plans for growth as it taps technology to enhance customer experience, calling it "a testament to Uber's exceptional growth across Southeast Asia over the last five years".

Talks of the acquisition had been swirling in the market in recent months. The Singapore Government announced earlier this month that it would review regulations governing the point-to-point transport sector so that no single player will dominate.

The review includes how to licence ride-hailing operators and structure the industry, said Second Transport Minister Ng Chee Meng in Parliament. As the regulator, the Government has to "act in good time" to ensure that the market stays open and contestable, even as the taxi and private-hire car industries consolidate, Mr Ng said. Allowing one player to rule the sector will be to the "detriment of commuters and drivers".

Grab said it is "committed to cooperating with local regulators in relation to the acquisition", believing it would "add to, among others, vibrant and competitive ride-hailing, delivery and transportation spaces".

The company added that it would make a merger notification to the Competition Commission of Singapore.

In announcing the acquisition to its drivers, Grab told them they will be able to use their app as they “normally” do. 

“And by 8 April 2018, when we transition the Uber community over to the Grab app, you’ll gain access to a larger pool of customers, and even more earning opportunities," it added.  

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