China’s Didi Buys Uber’s Biggest Latin American Competitor

One of Uber’s ridesharing rivals, China’s Didi Chuxing, has acquired Brazilian startup 99, reportedly for around $1 billion.

According to TechCrunch, the news comes after Didi received more than $4 billion in an equity funding round in December to “support AI capacity-building, international expansion and new business initiatives," the company reported in a press release.

While terms of the deal haven't yet been disclosed, financial publication Valor reported that Didi is putting $600 million into 99 – picking up shares from previous investors that include Riverwood Capital, Monashees, Qualcomm Ventures, Tiger Global and SoftBank in the process, and adding another $300 million to fuel regional expansion.

“The success that founders and team of 99 have achieved in Brazil embody the very spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in the LatAm region,” said Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi, in a statement. “Building on the deep trust between our two teams, this new level of integration will bring to the region more convenient, value-added mobility services."

Other ridesharing companies in which Didi has invested include Grab in Southeast Asia and Careem in the Middle East. However, the company has made only three acquisitions so far, all in China. It’s reportedly also now buying a bike-sharing startup in China, Bluegogo, although that has not been officially announced. Did has already invested after in another bike startup, Ofo.

Prior to this deal, 99 had raised around $240 million from 11 investors. Last year, Didi invested more than $100 million for a stake in 99, which the company said it would use to expand across the rest of Latin America to compete not just with Uber, but also with local rivals like Easy Taxi and Cabify.

“We feel privileged to be now a single organization with an even stronger purpose: Improve the transportation industry and massively impact the lives of billions of people worldwide,” said Peter Fernandez, CEO of 99, in a statement about the most recent Didi deal. “We are confident that being part of Didi Chuxing will vastly enhance our capability to expand our services throughout Brazil to bring critical value to users, drivers and cities.”



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