Grab, Southeast Asia’s most popular ride-hailing platform, is raising as much as $2 billion from Japan’s SoftBank and China’s largest taxi-hailing company Didi Chuxing, valuing the startup at more than $5 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The deal is expected to close in the next few weeks.
Singapore-based Grab plans to expand its services in Southeast Asia at a time when rival Uber has been pulling back in the region. Grab announced in April it would acquire Indonesian online payment startup Kudo for an undisclosed amount and planned to integrate the Kudo platform with GrabPay. The two companies said they are exploring opportunities to expand Kudo’s financial services to include insurance and consumer loans.
Grab operates in 55 cities across seven countries with more 710,000 drivers in its network. It claims a 95 per cent market share of third-party taxi-hailing apps and more than 50 per cent market share in private cars in the seven markets.
In October 2016 Grab appointed Ming Maa, a dealmaker at SoftBank and former VP at Goldman Sachs, as president. Ming, who is based in Singapore, joined Grab from the Japanese giant, which is a strategic investor in Grab. He played a key role in overseeing SoftBank’s investments in companies in the ride-sharing and e-commerce industries, including SoftBank’s Series D investment in Grab in 2015 and additional Series F investments in September 2016.
Grab raised $750 million from investors in its latest funding round last September, increasing its valuation at the time to more than $3 billion.