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Grab-Uber deal to be probed again

Grab’s acquisition of Uber is coming under further scrutiny. — Photo laodong.com.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s authorities plan to conduct further investigations into the merger of Grab and Uber last year over possible antitrust regulations violations, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade on Wednesday.

The Competition Council announced that after examining documents and working sessions with relevant parties, it had discovered a number of new details related to possible violations of competition law in Grab’s acquisition of fellow ride-hailing platform Uber last March.

These discoveries prompted the council to return the case dossiers to the Ministry’s Competition and Consumer Protection Department for further investigation. The investigation is expected to run until April this year.

Last year, Grab announced its acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia, including Việt Nam.

In Việt Nam, the investigation into Grab and Uber’s merger was initiated in May 2018.

The Competition Council in December 2018 announced Grab’s acquisition of Uber had signs of violations in terms of failure to notify market regulators of its purchase of Uber. The deal was also thought to have threatened Vietnamese taxi companies by cutting their market shares and changing customer habits.

Notably, competition authorities have said the combined market share between Grab and Uber in Việt Nam exceeded 50 per cent, which breaches regulations under the country’s Law on Competition 2004.

According to the ministry, if the concentrated market share of parties accounts for 30 to 50 per cent in the market without announcement before their acquisition, the firms will be fined 10 per cent of their total revenue in the previous financial year. If the figure exceeds 50 per cent, the transaction will be prohibited from being completed.

However, Grab claimed that it had acted legally and that the competition authorities have misinterpreted the scope of relevant markets when calculating the market share.

Việt Nam is not the only country where Grab has come under fire in Southeast Asia. Singapore in September last year announced a fine of US$9.5 million on Grab and Uber for eroding competition. — VNS