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Business deals

Grab demands strong control by founder in Gojek merger

Tan 'CEO for life' bid spurs investor backlash in talks between ASEAN unicorns

Southeast Asian super apps Grab and Gojek have been in merger talks for nearly a year, with investors on both sides now aggressively pursuing a deal. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO/JAKARTA -- Singapore-based unicorn Grab has requested that founder Anthony Tan be the de facto "CEO for life" of a potential merged entity with Gojek, its Indonesia-based rival, as both Southeast Asian "superapps" press ahead with talks to settle their differences and join hands, Nikkei Asia has learned.

Grab is also seeking several other clauses as conditions for the merger, including giving Tan sizable voting power in the company, veto rights over board decisions as well as having influence over his own compensation, according to two people privy to the matter.

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