Uber is said to have explored a sale of Indian ride-hailing arm

Uber Technologies Inc. explored options for its Indian ride-hailing business, including a sale, but suspended discussions after valuations for tech startups shrunk, people familiar with the matter said.

The US company began weighing alternatives and reached out to several interested parties after acknowledging it had limited potential for profitable expansion in the country, people said, asking not to be named as the information was not made public. is. It considered a stock swap with local companies or even a pullout, before a global stock market turned plans upside down, the people added. A stock deal was favored in exploratory talks as it would allow Uber to gain a foothold in India, the people said.

Uber and its local rival Ola struggled to turn a profit in a fast-growing but price-sensitive market, where constant driver losses weighed on margins. A sale to a local operator could have struck similar deals with Didi Global Inc. in China and Grab Holdings Ltd. in Southeast Asia, where Uber sold off the markets but retained an equity stake in the dominant local player to tap into future growth. The maneuvers ended costly turf wars waged with driver incentives and monetary subsidies.

Uber disputed the idea that it had considered pulling out of India.

“Bloomberg’s reporting is categorically inaccurate. We have never tried to leave India, even for a minute,” company spokesman Ruchica Tomar said in an emailed statement. Uber remains committed to India and continues to hire people “aggressively”.

Uber, whose stock has soared since its IPO in 2019, has divested money-losing companies to achieve its goal of being consistently profitable. In May, it delivered a positive outlook for earnings, indicating that the company plans to capitalize on robust ride demand without compromising earnings by focusing on product changes rather than incentives to drive shortages. address drivers.

India and Japan are the only major remaining Asian markets for Uber, which has declined sharply since the tumultuous days of former head Travis Kalanick. The San Francisco-based company began services in India in 2013 and now offers ride hailing in nearly 100 cities across the country, its website revealed.

Talks about a deal with India had been tentative and the company could decide not to reconsider those options, the people said.

Uber also sold its food delivery business in India to local rival Zomato Ltd in 2020. in exchange for an interest in the local startup. The US giant now mainly competes with Ola, which had selected bankers to prepare for an IPO in Mumbai, Bloomberg News reported last year. Uber announced in May that it would add 500 tech workers to its tech centers in Bangalore and Hyderabad this year.

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