Singapore-based ride-hailing company Grab is said to be in talks with Paypal and Alibaba’s Ant Financial over plans to spin-off its financial services arm – which includes insurance products.
According to a TechCrunch report, Grab is considering spinning out its financial services unit, Grab Financial Group, to focus on its main transportation business. The company is facing stiff competition in its core Southeast Asia market from rival Go-Jek, which is backed by tech powerhouse Google.
If true, this would represent a change in approach from Grab. The company recently inked a partnership with ZhongAn Insurance in January to establish a joint venture company to enter Southeast Asia’s digital insurance distribution market. And, in late March, the company unveiled its ‘Grow with Grab’ roadmap that aimed to provide micro-insurance products to SMEs and small entrepreneurs.
Both Grab and Paypal have refused to comment on the news – and Ant Financial has flat out denied that they’re in talks with Grab. “Ant Financial is not involved in talks with Grab,” a spokesperson from Ant told TechCrunch in an updated statement.
News of the talks capped off a hot last couple of weeks for Grab. In early March, the company received a substantial $1.46 billion investment from the SoftBank Vision Fund, which brings the total worth of the company to $16 billion according to TechCrunch.