Tata Group’s investment fund announced plans to make a “significant investment” in taxi-hailing app Uber, which recently committed to investing $1 billion in the Indian market.
Tata and Uber declined to reveal the size of the investment, but the Financial Times, citing a source familiar with the deal, reported it as close to $100 million.
The investment by the Tata Opportunities Fund, the company’s $600 million private-equity unit, is the fund’s first in a global company with a headquarters outside India.
Mumbai-based Tata Group is one of India’s largest conglomerates and has interests in everything from steel and auto production to telecoms and airlines.
Uber, which launched in India less than two years ago, is available in 18 cities and has more than 150,000 drivers in the country. Uber said it has been growing 40 per cent each month and now has a 35 per cent market share, second to rival Ola.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a statement that it is “focused on building a great service for hundreds of millions of Indians — Tata’s leadership and experience will be crucial in helping us meet this important goal”.
But Uber has faced challenges in India, with the app banned in New Delhi in December, following rape allegations against one of its drivers. Early in the year it applied for a radio taxi licence and is waiting on approval from the city’s transport department.
Uber’s partnership with Tata follows other strategic deals in emerging markets. Chinese web giant Baidu acquired a minority stake in Uber in December, giving the US firm a boost as it looks to expand in China, and the company signed a deal with America Movil to bring the service to the operator group’s customers in Mexico.
Uber was in talks with several banks in May about a $1 billion credit line with six to seven banks expected to be part of the facility.
Uber operates in over 60 countries and 330 cities around the world.