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SoftBank Steps up Pressure For Grab, Gojek Deal

October 17, 2020 3:29 am

Beijing (PingWest)—SoftBank Group’s Masayoshi Son is stepping up pressure on Grab to work out a ceasefire with archrival Gojek, The Japan Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Representatives of the two Southeast Asia-based ride-hailing companies have been speaking on Zoom calls recently to work the deal out. One of the key points left to be determined is whether Grab will acquire all of Gojek's operations or just the business in Indonesia.

Instead of a comprehensive merger, Grab prefers to acquire Gojek's Indonesia segment as a subsidiary. But Gojek wants a broader deal throughout southeast Asia because it would end up with a bigger portion of the merged business.

Masayoshi Son, Founder and CEO of SoftBank, is Grab's biggest investor and has been pushing for the deal since the beginning of this year. It is said that Son is conceptually aligned with Gojek shareholders for a regional deal.

After a six-month pause, at the urging of SoftBank and other investors, the two most valuable Southeast Asian unicorns revived stalled merger talks in September 

In the past few years, Singapore-headquartered Grab and Indonesia-based Gojek have been fighting fierce and expensive battles for supremacy. Affected by the COVID-19, the ride-hailing business was hit hard, and both companies carried out a round of small-scale layoffs in June. Therefore, working together can reduce cash consumption and build one of the most powerful tech companies in the region.

Grab, which is present in eight countries, was last valued at about $14 billion, while Gojek, valued at $10 billion, operates in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Both of them have evolved from ride-hailing platforms to super apps, providing services such as digital payments and food delivery.