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Venture news: WebMD sold for $2.8B; Grap app lands $2B; Uber under attack

Venture Capital

Jul, 24 2017, 9:41 AM

News around the world in venture capital includes three major stories:

KKR is buying health information website WebMD in a deal valued at about $2.8 billion.

WebMD Health Corp. announced in February that it was looking at its strategic options, including a possible sale.

KKR's Internet Brands, an online media and software services provider and subsidiary of KKR, will pay $66.50 per WebMD share. That's an approximately 20 percent premium to the New York company's Friday closing price of $55.19.

WebMD's board has approved the transaction, which is targeted to close in the fourth quarter.

WebMD's stock jumped more than 17 percent in premarket Monday trading.

The taxi app Grab has been given an additional $2 billion in financing, revealing the intense competition among car services in Asia that have forced companies like Uber to take a back seat to rivals with extremely deep-pockets.

The latest round of funding comes from Japan's Softbank and China's top ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing. Grab said Monday that it expects another $500 million will come from other existing and new investors. Its last announced cash injection was in September when it raised $750 million led by Softbank, whose chief executive Masayoshi Son is Japan's richest person and a self-styled tech visionary.

Grab is vying to dominate the market for car and motorbike hailing in Southeast Asia, where it competes with traditional taxis and rival apps such as Uber.

In Indonesia, the region's biggest economy and most populous country with more than 250 million people, it's in a fierce battle for customers with local app Go-Jek.

Uber lost a pricey expensive fight for control of the market in China against Didi Chuxing, forced to accept a stake in Didi as a consolation prize.

As of yet, however, none none of the apps, including Grab, are profitable. Didi Chuxing itself raised $7.3 billion in June last year.

The city of Madrid has asked Spain's anti-trust watchdog to investigate whether Uber's new airport transport service violates fair competition laws.

Uber, the San Francisco-headquartered mobile ride-hailing service, offers rides from 15-29 euros ($17-$34) from Madrid's airport to the city center. The fare for taxis is set at 30 euros ($35).

In a statement Saturday evening, Madrid's city hall says "(Uber's) tariffs may violate several articles of the Law of Unfair Competition and consumer rights if they are below the cost of providing the service."

Taxi drivers in Spain went on strike in March and May to protest what they say is unfair competition from Uber and the Madrid-based car service Cabify.

Unions claim these companies flout a law stipulating there should be one private company vehicle for every 30 taxis.





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