Ride hailing firm Grab secures up to $700 million in debt facilities

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Grab, the main Southeast Asian rival of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL], said on Friday it had secured debt facilities of up to $ 700 million to help it create the largest car rental program in southeast Asia.

FILE PHOTO: People wait for the start of Grab’s fifth anniversary news conference in Singapore June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

The company also said it had signed a partnership with Singaporean public transport operator SMRT, which will give it exclusive access to SMRT’s taxi and private car fleet management capabilities, along with its network of taxis and Strides private-hire cars.

It also said it would have the largest car rental fleet in Southeast Asia by the fourth quarter of 2018.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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Tech

In France, Snap's Discover news feature gets 10 million monthly users

(Reuters) – Snap Inc, searching for ways to reinvigorate a slowing growth rate and increase advertising revenue for its Snapchat messaging app, said this week it has racked up 10 million users for its Discover news and video feature in France a year after launching there.

The figure, which has not previously been reported, is equivalent to about 15 percent of the country’s population.

Internationally, the Snapchat app has 173 million daily active users, the company said in August, while rival Instagram, owned by Facebook Inc, said this week it has 500 million daily users.

Snap’s partners in France such as Le Monde and Cosmopolitan, which supply video and news for the Discover feature, were getting “significant” revenue from ads, Nick Bell, Snap’s vice president of content, told Reuters, without giving an exact figure.

Snap, which generates revenue from advertisers, shares that revenue 50-50 with its publisher partners.

The company has yet to turn a profit since its messaging app launched in 2012. Since its initial public offering in March, its shares are down almost 18 percent, to around $ 14 per share.

France was the first international launch of Discover. It has also been released in Germany, the Middle East and North Africa, but the company is taking a slow, deliberate approach to expansion as it works at developing strong partnerships with publishers, said Bell.

Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; editing by Anna Driver and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Tech

Oracle pays $532 million to snatch up another cloud service provider

Hard on the heels of a similar purchase last week, Oracle has announced it will pay $ 532 million to buy Opower, a provider of cloud services to the utilities industry.

Once a die-hard cloud holdout, Oracle has been making up for lost time by buying a foothold in specific industries through acquisitions such as this one. Last week’s Textura buy gave it a leg up in engineering and construction.

“It’s a good move on Oracle’s part, and it definitely strengthens Oracle’s cloud story,” said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics.

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Computerworld Cloud Computing

Uber investing $1 billion in India, targets 1 million daily rides

Uber Technologies expects to hit over 1 million trips per day in the next six to nine months in India, the largest market outside the U.S. for the ride-hailing company.

The company said Friday it was making a new investment of US$ 1 billion in the country over the next nine months. The money will be spent on expanding and improving operations, including into more cities, developing new products and payment methods, and to establish a “great support network,” Amit Jain, president of Uber India, said in a statement.

Uber, which is currently growing at a whopping 40 percent monthly, is expecting faster growth after the investment, Jain added.

In India, Uber is up against the country’s largest player Ola, run by ANI Technologies, which acquired a smaller operator TaxiForSure in March for $ 200 million.

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Network World Cloud Computing