Following an investigation Singapore’s antitrust watchdog concluded that Grab’s purchase of Uber’s Southeast Asian business has harmed consumers in Singapore. It has suggested remedial measures.
Following Uber Technologies Inc’s sale of its Southeast Asian business to its regional rival Grab in March 2018, Singapore’s anti-trust watchdog has levied a combined fine of $9.5 million on Uber and Grab over the deal.
It has also ordered Uber to sell vehicles from its local leasing business to any rival that makes a reasonable offer.
The action follows an investigation by the antitrust watchdog, Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), which was launched just days after the deal was announced.
On Monday, the CCCS said, it had finalized several measures to lessen the impact of the transaction on drivers and riders while opening up the market for new players. It also said, it found that the merger significantly reduced competition in the market.
CCCS has levied a fine of S$6.6 million on Uber, and S$6.4 million on Grab. It has also ordered Grab to remove its exclusivity arrangements with drivers and taxi fleets.
“Mergers that substantially lessen competition are prohibited and CCCS has taken action against the Grab-Uber merger because it removed Grab’s closest rival, to the detriment of Singapore drivers and riders,” said Toh Han Li, CCCS’ Chief Executive in a statement.
Its investigation into the merger concluded that fares following the deal, fares on Grab rose in the range of 10% to 15% and that its marketshare in Singapore rose to 80%.
CCCS has instructed Grab to maintain its pre-merger pricing algorithm and driver commission rates.
According to Uber, CCCS’s decision was based on an “inappropriately narrow definition of the market, and that it incorrectly describes the dynamic nature of the industry, among other concerns.”
Uber said it would appeal the ruling.
Grab said, it completed the acquisition within its legal rights, and that it did not intentionally or negligently breach Singapore’s competition laws. It has also not raised its fares after the deal.
It went on to add, for drivers to have maximum choice, all transport players, including taxi operators, should be subjected to non-exclusivity conditions.
Grab has agreed to abide by remedies spelled out by the CCCS.