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Uber rival Grab raising RM8.6bil from SoftBank, China’s Didi -WSJ

BENGALURU: Grab, Uber Technologies Inc’s biggest rival in South-East Asia, is raising as much as US$2bil (RM8.6bil) in funding from Japan’s SoftBank Group and China’s top ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The deal, which could close in the next few weeks, would value Singapore-based Grab at more than US$5bil (RM21.5bil), the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The reported funding comes amid efforts by Grab to transform into a consumer technology firm that also offers loans, electronic money transfer and money-market funds.

Grab declined to comment, while SoftBank and Didi did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Grab, which operates its ride-hailing platform in 55 cities across seven countries, raised US$750mil (RM3.2bil) in a funding round in September, with sources then valuing the five-year-old startup at over US$3bil (RM12.9bil).

The reported deal also comes at a time when San Francisco-based Uber, the world’s largest ride-hailing service, faces setbacks at home ranging from accusations of a sexist work culture and driver protests.

Uber’s challenges have culminated in the departure of co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who stepped down under investor pressure last month. - Reuters

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