Grab’s biggest shareholder, SoftBank, is reportedly planning of building up heft and power in order to surpass the Indonesian ride-sharing company, Gojek. According to Reuters, it is currently in talks of merging Indonesian firm OVO with another local, Ant Financial-backed company to “build heft and power” ahead of Gojek.
It is believed that if SoftBank’s talks are successful, it would see Grab buying a majority interest in an Ant-backed company called DANA that is, in turn, a part of another conglomerate called Elang Makhota Teknologi (Emtek) and merge it with OVO.
There is little doubt that the move is a strategic play and consolidation of power by SoftBank. In an effort to strengthen Grab’s foothold over the market against Gojek. Financially, both Grab and Gojek are valued at US$14 billion (~RM58 billion) and US$10 billion (~RM41.8 billion) respectively, with the former having been a dominant force in Southeast Asia after the exit of its major rival, Uber, last year.
The potential merger is not without its own set of reservations. Ant Financial, one of companies involved in the deal, says that the deal could potentially unsettle payment partnerships with its local partners in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.