PCC to review Uber-Grab merger

THE Philippine Competition Commission will be looking into the Uber and Grab merger to determine if it will “substantially lessen competition” in the ride-sharing market.

In a statement posted on its website Monday, the PCC said Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asian operations “is likely to have far-reaching impact on the riding public and transport services.”

“As such, the PCC is looking at the deal closely with the end view of potentially reviewing it for competition concerns, as a notified transaction, or by opening a motu proprio case,” the PCC said.

The PCC explained that as the anti-trust authority of the country, its mandate is to protect competition in the market and prohibit anticompetitive conduct, including mergers and acquisitions of businesses and companies that may substantially prevent, restrict, or lessen competition.

The PCC said it will evaluate and analyze if after the acquisition, prices will likely increase; ride-sharing services will deteriorate; passengers will effectively have less options; and how likely other new transport network companies (TNCs) have a chance in fairly competing against the merged firm.

“PCC recognizes that the exit of Uber in the Philippines will put its rival Grab in virtual monopoly in the ride-sharing market until the new players come into operation,” the statement said.

The PCC said it will meet with representatives of both companies to find out if the transation meets merger notification thresholds. The PCC said that basis for the thresholds will only look into Grab and Uber’s Philippine operations.

The terms and conditions of the agreement are not yet known.

If the PCC finds that the transaction required both to notify the PCC, they are not allowed to consummate the deal without the PCC’s approval. However, if the transaction does not meet the threshold, the PCC still urges both companies to allow a voluntary review “to take its course before consummating to minimize the need to unscramble the deal if found to have anti-competition concerns.”

The PCC said that if any anti-competitive concerns are found after the review, Grab and Uber may propose commitments to remedy or prevent the negative effects to competition in the market after the acquisition.

The PCC pointed out that if Grab or Uber do not submit voluntarily to their jurisdiction, the Philippine Competition Act allows them to launch a motu proprio review or open a case that could block the deal.

“PCC is committed to ensure that Grab’s acquisition of Uber in the Philippines will not harm the interest of the riding public,” the PCC said. (MEA)
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