khosrowshaw dara uber

Uber has signalled a further retreat from overseas markets and is selling its South East Asia ride sharing and food delivery businesses to regional rival Grab.

Two years ago, Uber sold its China operations, in which it had invested billions of dollars, to local group Didi Chuxing, the dominant Chinese operator of car-hailing services. The US company has also pulled out of Russia.

Under the terms of the latest deal, Uber will take a 27.5% stake in Singapore-based Grab. Uber's chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi will also join Grab's board.

Grab is South East Asia's most popular ride-sharing firm with millions of users across eight countries. Uber has invested about $700m in the region but has not reached profitability.

Since the Uber deal was signed, regulators have indicated they may oppose the move, suggesting the tie-up will result in less competition and higher prices for users.

Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines regulators are investigating whether the sale breaches competition rules, with Singapore's regulatory body suggesting it has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that competition would be infringed

The Philippines anti-competition watchdog said the deal created a "virtual duopoly", while Malaysian officials said they would monitor Grab for possible anti-competitive behaviour.

The regulators are considering interim measures requiring the two competitors to maintain their pre-transaction independent pricing for customers until they have completed a review of the deal.

There are also reports that Uber’s Singaporean leasing business, Lion City Rentals (LCR), will close this month. Last year the company formed a joint venture with Singapore-based multinational taxi company ComfortDelGro, which took over operations and maintenance of 14,000 Uber vehicles in the region.

However, there are signs that Uber is also exiting leasing as it prepares for a stock market flotation next year and seeks to improve its bottom line.

The one remaining major market where Uber continues to compete head-to-head with a local supplier is India, where home-grown rival Ola has significant market share.