Uber retreats from Southeast Asia by selling operations to rival Grab

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Uber is paring back more of its loss-making operations with the announcement on Monday that it is retreating from the Southeast Asian market.

Uber will sell its operations in the market to Singapore-based Grab, a rival ride-hailing company that's been the biggest challenger to Uber in Southeast Asia. As part of the deal, Uber will gain a 27.5 percent stake in Grab and a seat on its board of directors.

The move is a major victory for Japanese holding company SoftBank, which is the biggest shareholder of both ride-hailing companies. It means reduced competition for Grab in a market with 620 million people.

Uber made a similar deal with ride-hailing company Yandex after pulling out of Russia in 2017, and with Didi Chuxing, the world's second biggest ride-hailing company, after pulling out of China in 2016.

It's thought Uber is looking to boost its bottom line ahead of an initial public offering in 2019. The privately owned company has burned through $10.7 billion since its founding in 2009 and is currently estimated to be valued at just under $50 billion, down from a peak of $69 billion in 2016.

Since that 2016 peak, the company has been rocked by a number of scandals including allegations of stolen self-driving tech from Waymo (which has since been settled), allegations of sexual harassment, the loss of CEO and founder Travis Kalanick, and most recently the death of a pedestrian in Arizona caused by one of the company's self-driving car prototypes.

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