Toyota to buy $1-billion stake in Grab

A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore

Grab will be valued at just over $10 billion after Toyota's investment, said a person familiar with the matter. Earlier this year, Hyundai also invested in Grab.

Toyota put money into Grab via its Next Technology Fund a year ago, but this time around the capital comes directly from the parent company.

Grab called it the largest-ever investment globally by an automotive manufacturer in the ride-hailing sector.

A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018.

It is also the latest collaboration between a global vehicle maker and a technology firm as ride-hailing companies dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, raising the risk of a future where auto ownership declines in favour of such services.

General Motors Co has invested in USA ride services firm Lyft, whose rival Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] is also backed by Toyota.

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Under the agreement with Toyota, one of the Japanese company's executives will join Grab's board of directors, and a Toyota employee will be seconded to the startup full-time as an executive officer.

The two companies already had a relationship: Toyota's trading arm invested an undisclosed amount in Grab previous year.

The fresh funds will allow Grab to further expand services such as its food delivery service GrabFood and mobile payments GrabPay to more countries across the region.

Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to invest USD1 billion in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as a lead investor in the company's ongoing financing round.

"We will work with partners like Toyota to continue to transform transportation in Southeast Asia", Grab said in an email. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi, said Bloomberg. The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day. "We want to be the one-stop mobility platform for users".

Toyota said on Wednesday that it reached a deal with Grab Holdings to strengthen a partnership they already have in order to grow in mobility services in the region. In addition, collaborations in driving-data-based automotive insurance, financial services for Grab drivers and maintenance services are also contemplated under the new partnership. In 2016, General Motors invested $500 million in Lyft, Volkswagen pumped $300 million into Gett, and Honda invested an undisclosed amount in Grab. Grab recently took over Uber's Southeast Asia operations after years of competition, and is now going head-to-head in Indonesia with rival Go-jek.

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