Alibaba in talks to invest $3 billion in Grab: Bloomberg

A logo of Alibaba Group is seen at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen

(Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> is in talks to invest $3 billion in Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing firm Grab Holdings Inc, Bloomberg News reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Chinese conglomerate will be the sole investor in the funding round and will spend a portion of the funds to acquire some of the Grab stock held by Uber Technologies Inc <UBER.N>, the Bloomberg report added.

Grab declined to comment, while Alibaba and Uber were not immediately available to respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Uber, which surrendered its Southeast Asian operations to Grab in March 2018, took a 27.5 percent stake in Grab’s business.

In April, Uber said it expects an impairment charge of up to $2.2 billion, adding that the charge would be against the carrying value of some of the company’s minority equity investments, due to the impact of the pandemic on the estimated value of those entities.

Grab, which has an estimated valuation of $14 billion and counts SoftBank Group Corp <9984.T> as one of its backers, expanded into financial services, food delivery and mobile payments over the last few years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hurt its mainstay ride-hailing business.

In June, Grab announced a 5% reduction in staff numbers as it cut costs amid slower growth.

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru, and additional reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)