September 27, 2018 / 8:54 AM / 3 months ago

Singapore's Grab in talks to sell Thai unit stake to Central Group -sources

BANGKOK, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab is in talks to sell “a decent-sized stake” in its Thai business to Thailand’s largest retailer, Central Group, people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The size is yet to be determined though discussions have been ongoing for some time, said one of the people, who declined to be identified as the matter was private.

Grab said it would not comment on “rumours and speculation”. Central did not respond to a request for comment.

Grab is interested in doing business with JD Central, a $500 million e-commerce joint venture that Central launched earlier this year with China’s JD.com, one of the people said.

“It’s natural synergy with Central,” said the person, citing Grab’s current food delivery service from Central restaurants.

Grab’s operations in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy also includes ride-hailing and parcel delivery.

Central Group, owned by the billionaire Chirathivat family, also manages shopping centres and hotels across Thailand. (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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