Toy­ota to ac­quire US$1b stake in Grab

> Ja­panese car­maker’s in­vest­ment will bring value of ride-hail­ing com­pany to just above US$10b

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

SIN­GA­PORE: Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp has agreed to buy a US$1 bil­lion (RM3.99 bil­lion) stake in South­east Asia’s Grab in the big­gest in­vest­ment by a car­maker into a ride-hail­ing firm, at a time when tra­di­tional au­tomak­ers are rac­ing to team up with dis­rup­tive tech com­pa­nies.

The value of six-year-old Grab will be just over US$10 bil­lion af­ter the in­vest­ment, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter.

The deal comes as the auto in­dus­try faces a spike in the need for tech­no­log­i­cal prow­ess with the ad­vent of fea­tures such as au­tonomous driv­ing, while app mak­ers of­fer pas­sen­gers the op­tion to forgo car pur­chases by con­nect­ing them with driv­ers.

Some au­tomak­ers have re­sponded by part­ner­ing with mak­ers of ride­hail­ing apps which dom­i­nate the fast­grow­ing field of mo­bil­ity ser­vices, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of a fu­ture of re­duced car own­er­ship.

Gen­eral Motors Co has in­vested in US ride ser­vices firm Lyft, whose ri­val Uber Tech­nolo­gies Inc is also backed by Toy­ota. Mean­while Ja­pan’s SoftBank Group Corp – also an in­vestor in Grab and Uber – last month said it would in­vest US$2.25 bil­lion in GM’s au­tonomous ve­hi­cle unit Cruise.

Toy­ota’s trading arm in­vested an undis­closed sum in Grab last year. This time, the au­tomaker is lead in­vestor in a fi­nanc­ing round launched af­ter Grab bought Uber’s South­east Asian busi­ness.

Grab called it the largest-ever in­vest­ment glob­ally by an au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­turer in the ride-hail­ing sec­tor.

The Sin­ga­pore-head­quar­tered firm did not dis­close how much fresh cap­i­tal it aims to raise. It raised US$2.5 bil­lion in its last round in July, re­sult­ing in a re­ported value of US$6 bil­lion.

Grab said it logs six mil­lion rides a day via apps down­loaded onto over 100 mil­lion mo­bile de­vices. The firm also of­fers on­line to off­line ser­vices, such as food de­liv­ery and dig­i­tal pay­ments, which it aims to ex­pand deeper into the re­gion us­ing funds from its lat­est fi­nanc­ing round.

“We will work with part­ners like Toy­ota to con­tinue to trans­form trans­porta­tion in South­east Asia,” Grab said in an email. It also said Toy­ota will ap­point an ex­ec­u­tive to Grab’s board while a ded­i­cated Toy­ota team mem­ber will be se­conded to Grab as an ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

Toy­ota said it aimed to of­fer fi­nanc­ing, in­sur­ance and main­te­nance ser­vices to driv­ers based on data col­lected through recorder de­vices al­ready in­stalled in some Grab ve­hi­cles.

“Go­ing for­ward, to­gether with Grab, we will de­velop ser­vices that are more at­trac­tive, safe and se­cure for our cus­tomers in South­east Asia,” Toy­ota ex­ec­u­tive Shigeki To­moyama said in a state­ment. – Reuters

A man walks past a Grab of­fice in Sin­ga­pore.

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