Grab says Uber deal driven independently by firms, has SoftBank support

A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Grab's acquisition of U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc's [UBER.UL] Southeast Asian business was driven independently by the two companies, and was supported by their common investor, Japan's SoftBank Group 9984.T, a top executive at the Singapore-based firm said.

“It was really a very independent decision by both companies. SoftBank, of course, and Masa in particular, was highly supportive of the acquisition,” Grab President Ming Maa told Reuters, referring to SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

The deal was in the “best interest of both of the companies”, he added.

The deal marks Uber’s second retreat from an Asian market and will see the firm take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab.

Maa said the deal had closed and the firm was in touch with regulators to address any concerns.

Expectations of consolidation in Asia’s fiercely competitive ride-hailing industry were stoked earlier this year when SoftBank’s Vision Fund made a multi-billion dollar investment in Uber.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Miyoung Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates