Uber to transition services over to Grab in April

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 26) — Uber users can book their rides using the Grab app starting April 9.

This, after it was announced Monday that Grab acquired Uber's Southeast Asia operations.

"The combined services of Grab and Uber signals a wider network of TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Services) drivers and passengers and improved ridesharing services," said Brian Cu, Country Head, Grab Philippines.

Grab Philippines said passengers will get to enjoy shorter waiting times and rides will become more affordable because of the larger fleet of drivers on their platform.

It added new users of the ride-sharing app will be able to take advantage of its loyalty programs and features for cashless transactions and real-time tracking of parcels.

The ride-hailing firm also sees a spike in app users which increases the chance of driver-partners to earn more and wait less.

Grab Philippines also reassured the government and the public that it will "continue to work in a collaborative and open manner."

Aside from the Philippines, the deal covers taking over Uber's operations and assets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

As part of the acquisition, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join Grab's board.

Expanding to food delivery

Grab will also integrate Uber's ridesharing and food delivery business in the region into Grab's existing multi-modal transportation and financial technology platform.

"GrabFood will also be another great use case to drive the continued adoption of GrabPay mobile wallet and support our growing financial services platform," said Tan Hooi Ling, Grab Co-founder.

To minimize disruption, it added that both companies are working together to promptly migrate Uber drivers and riders, Uber Eats customers, merchant partners and delivery partners to the Grab platform.

"The Uber app will continue to operate for two weeks to ensure stability for Uber drivers, who can find out how to sign-up to drive with Grab online. Uber Eats will run until the end of May, after which Uber delivery and restaurant partners will move to the GrabFood platform," Grab said in the statement.

Grab is also cooperating with local regulators in relation to the acquisition, starting with a merger notification to the Competition Commission of Singapore.

Uber: 'Right thing to do'

In an open letter to its SEA employees posted on Uber's website, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said it was a tough decision.

"These are never easy decisions and I know this will mean a big change for you and your families, but I believe that combining forces with Grab is the right thing to do for Uber for the long term," he said.

He also denied consolidation is the "strategy of the day," given this is the third deal of its kind, from China to Russia and now, Southeast Asia.

"One of the potential dangers of our global strategy is that we take on too many battles across too many fronts and with too many competitors. This transaction now puts us in a position to compete with real focus and weight in the core markets where we operate, while giving us valuable and growing equity stakes in a number of big and important markets where we don't," he said.

In 2016, Uber sold its China operations to rival Did Chuxing in a landmark deal that ended its quest to be a major player in one of the world's largest markets.

Last year, Uber also threw in the towel in Russia, ceding its operations to rival Yandex in exchange for a 37 percent stake in the combined company.

Uber said that around 500 colleagues across the region will transition to Grab. It will also help Uber users to transition to Grab's apps in the coming weeks.

In Metro Manila, records from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board show that both Grab and Uber have 59,020 units.