Uber plans to sell South-east Asia business to Grab: CNBC

  No deal has been reached yet and the timing of any deal is uncertain, according to the CNBC report.
No deal has been reached yet and the timing of any deal is uncertain, according to the CNBC report.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS, AFP) - Uber Technologies is preparing to sell its South-east Asia ride-hailing business to Singapore-based Grab in return for a substantial stake in the company, CNBC reported on Saturday (Feb 17), citing two sources familiar with the matter.

No deal has been reached yet and the timing of any deal is uncertain, the report said.

The  report added that the move would mimic Uber's strategy in China, where the company sold its operation to Didi for 20 per cent ownership, and in Russia, where the company merged its local business with Yandex's ride-hailing business for a 37 per cent stake.

The objective would be to help Uber reel in its costs as freshly ensconced chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi steers the high-value start-up to a stock market debut next year. 

Russia’s top search site Yandex said on Thursday  it expected sales growth to accelerate this year thanks to the combination of its ride-hailing business Yandex.Taxi with Uber. 
 

Reuters had reported in November that SoftBank Group's multi-billion dollar investment in Uber had opened up the possibility of combining it with other ride-hailing assets that the Japanese group owns.

In January, SoftBank bought about a 15 per cent stake in Uber. The Japanese group also owns shares in Grab, Didi, India's Ola and Brazil's 99.
 
Uber’s losses in 2017 grew to US$4.5 billion (S$5.9 billion) from the US$2.8 billion the San Francisco-based firm lost a year earlier. 
 
However, Uber lost US$1.1 billion in the final quarter of 2017 as compared with US$1.46 billion in the preceding quarter as revenue rose. 
 
Net revenue grew to US$2.22 billion from US$1.38 billion in the same quarter-over-quarter comparison.  
 
Uber remains a private company, but routinely discloses some earnings information. 
 
Khosrowshahi began reigning in costs after he took over as Uber chief late last year, replacing ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick.