KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25): "There's no change in our thinking around an IPO (initial public offering) or the timelines,” said Grab Holdings Inc president Ming Maa, whose remarks are the latest indication that Southeast Asia's largest unicorn remains keen to go public as it adjusts its strategies amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nikkei Asia, quoting Maa as speaking at a virtual conference organised by DealStreetAsia, a Singapore-based start-up-focused news site, reported that Grab had yet to announce when it aims to go public but faces a payout of more than US$2 billion (about RM8.17 billion) to Uber Technologies Inc if it does not do so by March 2023.
"This stipulation was part of the agreement when Grab acquired Uber's Southeast Asian business in 2018 in exchange for shares. Uber owned 23.2% of Grab shares as of the end of that year.
"Backed by big global investors, including SoftBank Group [Corp], Grab has rapidly grown in the region, offering smartphone-based services from ride-hailing to food delivery and e-payment under its so-called 'super app' strategy. But the pandemic has dampened demand for its core ride-hailing services, while giving rise to the delivery business. Grab's revenue is currently about 95% of [the] pre-Covid-19 level,” Nikkei Asia reported Maa as saying.
He reportedly said Grab had "a very constructive partnership” with Uber.
"Uber, like many of our shareholders, want us to focus on keeping our heads down. They want us to focus on delivering the best service for our customers.
"I think ultimately if we stay focused on the operational execution, then an IPO will happen at the right time,” he said.
It was reported that Maa did not reveal details of any IPO timeline or of Grab's agreement with Uber.
Singapore-headquartered Grab, which operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia, is reportedly one of the region's biggest unicorns, along with its Indonesian rival Gojek.
"Grab was last valued at US$14.3 billion, according to CB Insights,” Nikkei Asia reported.