Grab plunges 21% in biggest Wall Street debut by a Southeast Asian company

Jalanang Bay Resort & Casino, a resort-casino near a downtown hotel in Singapore, opened in April with 20% off, also a first for any Asian company

Grab plunges 21% in biggest Wall Street debut by a Southeast Asian company

Singapore online taxi-hailing service Grab merged on Thursday with its smaller rival Uber Technologies Inc. as a step towards a broader plan to transform itself into an online-first, global business with ambitions to rival global leaders.

Southeast Asia’s largest online cab hailing service, Grab, became a publicly traded company and the first Southeast Asian company to debut on Wall Street when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange with shares at $15.50.

The stock, which first traded at $14.90, slumped 21% to $11.20 at the close. But unlike its US rival Uber which is currently exploring an initial public offering (IPO), Grab has said its intention is to hold on to its newly-listed shares.

Shares would continue to trade with the symbol “UBER” in order to meet US Securities and Exchange Commission listing requirements, said Grab CFO Alvin Tan.

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Grab listed 30 million ordinary shares after the deal with Uber took effect.

There were no restrictions on the board’s voting rights or purchases of Grab shares by Uber under the merger, Tan told a post-market earnings call.

He added that while it was too early to know what ride-hailing applications Uber might be looking at outside of Southeast Asia, Grab would develop them if and when that happens.

Singapore did not see a pickup in new data enquiries in the first quarter, slowing growth in mobile data transactions and a drop in passenger rides, he said.

He added that Grab was building an app in support of new group buying offers that could lead to increased sales among existing merchants.

The merger will allow the enlarged group to potentially handle rides in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Grab had 60 million customers in 750 cities across six countries.

Singapore’s economic growth was revised slightly lower to 3.6% from an initial estimate of 3.8% in the first quarter because of weaker-than-expected private consumption and government expenditure.

Q&A Why did Uber founders sell a stake to Didi? Show Hide Uber and rival Didi Chuxing started out competing for Chinese ridesharing supremacy but entered a multi-billion dollar battle for global domination. Following Didi’s acquisition of Uber China in 2017, Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to Didi and separately offloaded its Uber China business to the company. Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber in August last year, said the two deals would allow the company to reinvest in Uber’s core business of on-demand car services, including self-driving technology. Speaking after the Uber merger, Didi founder and president Jean Liu said the company was open to more tie-ups and acquisitions around the world, citing Uber’s interest in an autonomous vehicle partnership and its recent purchase of a stake in GM’s self-driving unit Cruise. Self-driving technology has been the envy of Silicon Valley firms for many years but Uber’s technology has had a rough ride in real-world situations after lidar sensors developed by Google’s Waymo broke down during testing. To make progress in the field, Uber has hired Steve Mahan, a self-driving pioneer who was previously the head of its self-driving unit. Source: Reuters

Grab, which started as a taxi hailing service in 2010, has forayed into bus services, car-pooling, bike hailing and e-tailing. It launched e-commerce last year with plans to launch restaurant delivery later this year.

Tan said there would be “no changes to the platforms” in Singapore.

Jalanang Bay Resort & Casino, a resort-casino near a downtown hotel in Singapore, opened in April with 20% off for all Grab rides and GrabPay digital payments for a year to its premium cardholders. Grab acquired Azmuk and Seatmate Singapore in June last year, giving it the exclusive licence to operate e-tailing in Singapore.

In December 2017, it had poached McKinsey and co-founder of IndiGo, airline alliance Jet Airways’ chief commercial officer, Phee Teik Yeow, as head of corporate development, head of partnerships and branding.

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