SINGAPORE (March 9): Grab and Gojek could be heading towards some sort of alliance or even a merger, as their backers face pressure to justify the valuations of loss-making tech companies.
This comes after SoftBank Group Corp founder Masayoshi Son, a known backer of Grab, recently travelled Jakarta for exploratory discussions, according to the Financial Times.
It is not immediately clear on what kind of deal could potentially emerge.
Other major backers of Singapore-headquartered Grab include Microsoft Corp, while Jakarta-headquartered Gojek counts Tencent Holdings and Google as investors.
“Today, given the dynamic, both sides are open,” an unnamed influential Gojek shareholder was quoted as saying. “There is a greater willingness at the highest levels, despite the delicate issue of control.”
To be sure, Grab and Gojek have engaged one another in the last few years.
But the recent talks signify a renewed “urgency”, according to sources cited by the Financial Times.
If both companies were to merge, such a move is likely to invite the scrutiny of anti-competition regulators.
In 2018, Grab and Uber were fined $6.4 million and $6.6 million, respectively, by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, following Grab's merger with Uber's operations in Southeast Asia.