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PCC launches probe on Grab-Uber merger

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), the country’s antitrust body, launched Tuesday a motu proprio review on the acquisition of Grab Holdings, Inc. and MyTaxi.PH of the assets of Uber BV and Uber Systems, Inc.

PCC has opened its own investigation on the Grab and Uber deal after the Commission’s officials met with representatives of the transport network companies (TNCs) Monday.

The Commission said it has yet to receive any notification of the transaction from any of the parties. “The parties also made representations that the transaction is not covered by the compulsory notification requirements under Section 17 of the Philippine Competition Act,” the PCC said in a statement.

Since last month, the PCC hiked the mandatory notification threshold for merger and acquisition deal to PHP2 billion for the size of transaction and PHP5 billion for the size of the party from the PHP1-billion threshold for both sizes of the transaction and the party. “In Resolution No. 08-2018, PCC said its preliminary assessment of the Grab-Uber transaction conducted by the Mergers and Acquisitions Office indicated that there are reasonable grounds that the said acquisition may likely substantially lessen, prevent, or restrict competition,” PCC said.

The antitrust body noted that based on its preliminary assessment, the sudden merger may adversely affect the interests of both the riding public and partner drivers. However, since the transaction does not meet the mandatory notification threshold, the TNCs can push through with the deal even while the Commission recognized that the exit of Uber from the local market will put Grab in virtual monopoly in ridesharing market.

Kris Crismundo /PNA