SoftBank’s Vision Fund continues its investment spree in the Asian market as the Japanese conglomerate prepares to place another bet on Grab. The mega Fund is planning to invest $1 billion [or more] in Grab; the leading ride-hailing company in Southeast Asia, two anonymous sources familiar with the plan told TechCrunch. Another source claimed the Vision Fund Grab investment could reach as much as $1.5 billion.
The Vision Fund has within the last quarter of the year invested a significant amount in three Asian companies that are valued billions of dollars. The Vision Fund contributed to a $1 billion round for India’s OYO in September. It earlier this month joined Alibaba in leading a $1.2 billion round to back Indonesia’s Tokopedia and last month wrote a $2 billion check for South Korea’s Coupang.
The $1 billion Vision Fund Grab investment could depend on equity transfer
The Japanese firm disclosed in its most recent financial report, in November, that SoftBank plans to move its stakes in ride-hailing companies over to Vision Fund. They include stakes in Grab, India’s Ola, China’s Didi, and Uber. That could happen in 2019 since the year is out and no further details on the issue have been received.
SoftBank did not include a projected timeframe but explained in the report that, it expects to arrange for the necessary procedures in the future to obtain appropriate consent and regulatory approvals for the stake transfer from the Fund’s limited partners.
TechCrunch reports that the Vision Fund Grab investment depends on the equity transfer, according to a source, just like the company did while investing in Coupang and Tokopedia – SoftBank’s stakes in the companies were transferred to Fund in the third-quarter of 2018.
Grab is not expected to be in any hurry to receive the new Vision Fund investment while the equity transfer timeframe remains hazy. The Singapore-based ride-hailing giant is preparing for its series H fund that will focus on raising a total of $3 billion. Grab has already raised a significant amount from Microsoft, Toyota, Booking Holdings, Yamaha Motors, and many other institutional investors.
Grab has completed over 2.5 billion rides to date, with over 130 million downloads, operating across eight markets in Southeast Asia. The company earlier this year acquired Uber’s Southeast business – the deal, which turned their rivalry into partnership, gave the United States startup a 27.5 percent state in Grab. However, regulators were not happy with the merger deal – the entities were fined $9.5 million in Singapore for abusing anti-competition laws and forced into conditions that would encourage competitors. Grab currently has Go-Jek to battle with for market share and the Indonesia-based hail-hailing firm is currently stepping up its fight in the region through local partnerships.
Commanding a valuation of $11 billion through its Series H round, Grab is the most valued tech startup in Southeast Asia. It’s not clear how much the company would worth if the Vision Fund Grab investment closes. According to Crunchbase’s data, the ride-hailing firm has so far raised about $6.8 billion from investors.