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SoftBank Near Deal To Invest $500M In Grab

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SoftBank Group is close to reaching a deal with Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing company, in which it will invest $500 million.

Reuters, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, reported the $500 million is part of a $1 billion round of funding Grab is aiming to raise. Total funding so far at Grab has been $6 billion, with SoftBank, Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Toyota Motor investing in the company. At that point Grab was valued at $11 billion, noted the report.

Grab is aiming to raise money to become a technology group that offers everything from rides to mobile payments in Southeast Asia, which is among the fastest growing markets in the world.

The potential investment on the part of SoftBank comes at a time when Grab is facing increased competition from Go-Jek, the Indonesian ride-hailing company. Earlier this week TechCrunch reported Go-Jek is gearing up to expand into Singapore. According to a report, Go-Jek is expected to land in Singapore as early as October. The report noted that Go-Jek decided to go after the Southeast Asia market after Uber exited in March. Go-Jek first expanded into Vietnam and then Thailand. A source with knowledge of the plans told the news outlet that Go-Jek will be in the Singapore market by the end of October. The startup is in talks with investors to raise $2 billion.

In August, Go-Jek rival Grab escalated its fight with the company, announcing that it plans to invest $250 million in Indonesian startups over the next three years through its new innovation arm. Earlier in the month, the Singapore-based firm revealed that it had raised $2 billion in funding in recent months, adding that it will use a significant portion of the proceeds to continue investing in Indonesia. One way to do that is through its Grab Ventures arm, which will develop technology startups in sectors beyond ride-hailing. Grab has more than 7.1 million micro-entrepreneurs on its platform, more than half of whom reside in Indonesia.

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