Grab in talks to merge Indonesian payment firms to overtake Gojek

JAKARTA: SoftBank-backed ride hailer Grab is in talks to merge OVO, an digital payments firm in which it owns shares, with an Ant Financial-backed local peer to build heft and power ahead of archrival , people familiar with the matter said.

A deal would see Singapore-based Grab buy a majority interest in DANA from Indonesian media conglomerate Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek) and merge it with OVO, they said.

It could help OVO-DANA dominate Gojek in Indonesia’s multi-billion dollar online payments market. OVO and Gojek have been vying for the top spot in payments since 2018, with DANA not far behind.

Grab and Gojek are the top-two startup brands in Southeast Asia, valued at US$14 billion and US$10 billion, respectively, according to sources. They compete in a host of areas including financial services, e-commerce, ride-hailing and food delivery.

“It’s part of the Grab-Gojek battle,” one of the sources said.

The plan also points to intensifying competition in Indonesia’s digital payments industry that is seeking to piggyback on the country’s booming e-commerce market and its 260 million people.

Grab and OVO declined to comment, while DANA said it does not comment on market rumours. The people declined to be named as the talks are private and remain at an early stage.

Emtek, Ant Financial, and SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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