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Report: SoftBank Eyeing Huge Stake in Uber

By NexChange
Venture Capital

SoftBank has talked to Uber about taking a a multibillion-dollar stake in the ride-hailing company, according to sources who have spoken to the Wall Street Journal.

If SoftBank does in fact buy a stake in Uber, it would give the Japanese telecommunications giant a “commanding stake in the ride-hailing market,” the Journal notes, because it has already made significant investments in Asia’s three largest ride-hailing companies: GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. in Singapore, India’s Ola and Didi Chuxing Technology Co. in China.

Interestingly, Uber and Didi are leading a $2.5 billion fundraising round for Grap, which is Uber’s biggest rival in Southeast Asia.

The deal would value Grab at more than $6 billion, making it the region’s most-valuable startup, according to a person familiar with the situation. Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market could grow to $13.1 billion by 2025—from $2.5 billion in 2015—according to a report last year by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Singapore state-investment firm Temasek Holdings.

This play for one of Uber’s big rivals might explain why the Journal describes the talks between SoftBank and Uber “as preliminary and one-sided.” If a deal were to happen, it likely won’t happen until Uber finds a successor for recently departed chief executive Travis Kalanick.

Photo: Uber

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