Grab-Uber deal has reduced competition in Singapore: antitrust regulator

Singapore’s antitrust regulator, the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has threatened Uber Technologies and Grab that it could potentially unwind their deal unless its proposed remedies, or any further remedies, have sufficiently been able to address competition concerns and are practically implementable.

On Thursday, in a blow to the Grab-Uber deal, Singapore’s antitrust regulator has proposed imposing fines on both, Uber Technologies and Grab, while warning it may have to undo the mergers since it has significantly reduced competition.

In March 2018, Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to Grab, a bigger regional peer, in exchange for a stake in its company. The deal marked Uber’s exit from Singapore, Asia’s second-biggest ride services market.

Following the announcement of the deal, in a rare move, it attracted regulatory scrutiny in the region, with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which launched a probe into the deal.

CCCS has proposed imposing fines on both companies since the deal transpired despite antitrust concerns, which has resulted in reduced competition in Singapore.

Significantly, this is the first time that the CCCS will be imposing fines on a merger. The antitrust regulator has said it will consider the companies’ representations, before it finalizes on the quantum of the fines.

Uber and Grab did not respond to requests for comment.

Incidentally, CCCS has also proposed measures to address competition concerns, including removing exclusivity obligations on drivers who use Grab’s ride-hailing platform as well as its exclusivity arrangements with taxi fleets.

CCCS has also proposed that Grab maintain its pre-transaction pricing algorithm and driver commission rates until competition is revived in the Singaporean market. The regulator has invited public feedback on the proposed remedies.

CCCS said, it may require Uber Technologies and Grab to undo their deal unless feedback confirms that its proposed remedies, or any further remedies, have sufficiently been able to address competition concerns and are practically implementable.

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