Philippines, Malaysia put Uber – Grab deal under anti-competition inspection


Kuala Lumpur (Reuters) : Philippines and Malaysia said on Monday they will look into whether Uber Technologies’ move to sell its Southeast Asian business to ride-hailing rival Grab hinders competition, days after Singapore began a explore into the deal on similar concerns.

The expanded scrutiny of the deal in Southeast Asia could sham a major hurdle to the U.S. firm’s effort to improve productivity by exiting its loss-making regional operation. It also comes as Grab is set to face harder competition from Indonesian rival Go-Jek.

In a rare move, Singapore last week projected interim actions to require Uber and Grab to maintain their pre-transaction independent pricing until it completes a evaluation of the deal, saying it had “reasonable grounds” to suspect that competition had been infringed.

“The Grab-Uber acquisition is likely to have a far reaching impact on the riding public and the transportation services. As such, the PCC is looking at the deal closely,” the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said in a statement.

It said the deal will put Grab in a virtual domination in the ride-sharing market, and its review will decide whether the transaction considerably reduces competition, adding it is meeting representatives of Grab and Uber on Monday.

Should anti-competitive concerns occur, Uber and Grab may propose commitments to remedy. In the event they will not submit voluntarily, the commission could open a case that may block the deal, it said.

“We won’t take it lightly. We will monitor this because it is still early days and we don’t know what will happen next,” said government minister Nancy Shukri, whose portfolio oversees the public transport licensing authority.

Malaysia also said on Monday that it will monitor Grab for possible anti-competitive behavior.

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