Singapore-based taxi-booking platform Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia is facing hurdles, as antitrust agencies across the region review the impact of the merger on local competition.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore is investigating the merger, as it thinks the deal could hurt competition. Interim measures have been proposed which require the two companies to maintain independent pricing and product options.
Grab said last week the Uber app will continue working until 15 April while the competition watchdog reviews the merger. Grab originally planned to shut down the app on 8 April.
According to reports, the watchdog cannot require Uber to continue operations in Singapore, but an interim order could stop the companies from integrating their operations.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ordered Uber to continue operations during a review, in a directive which also puts Grab’s move to acquire its rival to a halt while the country’s antitrust commission reviews the deal.
PCC has imposed interim restrictions which include requiring the ride-booking apps to continue to operate independently, refrane from sharing confidential information, and refraine from imposing exclusivity clauses, lock-in periods or termination fees on Uber drivers joining Grab.
PCC held a public hearing, with Grab and Uber submitting comments, and will issue an order after further consideration of the interim measures.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government said it will monitor Grab for possible anti-competitive practices.
Grab announced in late March it acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, with the US-based company taking a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joining Grab’s board.
In Indonesia, a country of 265 million people, the merger is moving ahead quickly, with about 70 per cent of Uber drivers already joining the Grab platform. Grab Indonesia managing director Ridzki Kramadibrata said the acquisition will allow it to expand to 120 cities, The Jakarta Post reported.