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China’s Didi in Talks to Buy Brazil’s 99, Threatening Uber

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is in talks to buy a majority stake in Brazilian ride hailing app 99, according to a person familiar with the talks. If the deal is completed, it would threaten Uber, which now dominates the Brazilian market.

It could also accelerate a broader reorganization in the global ride-sharing sector pursued by Didi and SoftBank, the Japanese investment giant which is a major Didi shareholder. SoftBank participated in a new $4 billion fundraising round announced by Didi on Thursday in China, according to a person familiar with the funding. Didi, the world’s second most valuable startup after Uber, was valued at more than $56 billion in the latest round.

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Inside Didi, employees who work on international expansion say next year will be crucial for the Chinese company. As Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is aiming for an initial public offering in 2019, the U.S. company may come under more pressure to control its cost and reduce its losses. Such pressure on Uber could create an opportunity for Didi-backed ride-sharing startups to gain market share, the Didi employees say.

—Shai Oster and Juro Osawa contributed to this article

Terrence Yang commented on this article.
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