Uber is reportedly keen to sell its Southeast Asia-based business to Grab


This is not the first time that this rumor has arisen, there's has been plenty of talk of the fact that Uber might offload its business in less-profitable regions to get in shape for an IPO. That was the case in Russia and China -- where it sold to dominant local rivals -- and some make the argument that the same could be applied in Southeast Asia. The leaks have certainly intensified since SoftBank, which is an investor in Grab, first voiced interest in buying into Uber, which it has since done. Many of these ride-sharing firms now have a very busy cap table, with many different investors expressing different opinions about future plans, so, to me, these leaks certainly look like they might be placed by sources keen push this consolidation agenda, i.e. not the core decision-makers themselves. Southeast Asia is a long-game market that isn't likely to be profitable for some years, but, even though Grab's business has most likely overtaken Uber's (it is hard to find reliable metrics) Uber's brand is big enough to recover and the gap isn't something that couldn't be closed. The question is whether Uber will remain committed or investors who seek consolidation will get their wish. Don't forget Google, Meituan Dianping, and others have just bought into the battle via an investment in Go-Jek, which is in just one market and vastly out-gunned on funding. Uber certainly doesn't appear, to me at least, to be losing in the same way it did in China, which is a conclusion I think many from outside the region are mistakenly coming to. Plus, its CEO has said it doesn't plan to stop investing in global markets

Short answer: treat these leaks with a grain of salt, but anything is possible.


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