PCC asks Uber, Grab to maintain operations beyond April 8

Published April 6, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By The Philippine News Agency

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has asked ride-sharing firms Uber and Grab to operate their respective platforms beyond April 8, pending its review of Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in Southeast Asia.


The PCC wants both Uber and Grab to continue to operate as separate businesses so as not to prejudice the review on the transaction.

“We will impose that the Uber and Grab apps will continue to operate beyond April 8 and that they will be operated independently,” PCC Commissioner Stella Quimbo said during yesterday’s public hearing on the takeover.

The PCC has formulated various interim measures that would ensure the credibility and integrity of its review on the merger of Uber and Grab for possible anti-competition concerns.

Among these are maintaining the independence of their business operations; refraining from sharing confidential information, such as pricing and operations; and refraining from imposing exclusivity clauses.

Both Uber and Grab were also asked to refrain from performing any practice that could lead to reduced viability of their businesses and prejudice the PCC’s power to review the transaction and impose remedies.

Grab has earlier said that Uber’s Southeast Asia operations will continue only until April 8 after acquiring its ride-sharing and food delivery businesses on March 26.

Uber expressed that it will no longer operate its businesses in the Southeast Asian region.

“From a business standpoint, Uber has exited eight markets in Southeast Asia as of last Monday. Now I look after 10 markets instead of 18. Our funding is gone. Our people are gone. We don’t intend to come back to these markets,” Uber Asia Pacific chief business officer Brooks Entwistle said.

For its part, Grab said it will continue to push through with the transaction as it believes that PCC’s proposed measures would hardly make an impact on its operations.

“We will still continue to operate as we have. The interim measures will hardly affect the acquisition and migration of Uber drivers to Grab,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said in an interview with reporters.

“We want to assure the public that we will operate responsibly as a ride-hailing company. We will work with regulators and adhere (to) what they will require,” he added.

The PCC assured that it will continue its mandate to review the merger despite Uber’s move to no longer operate in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

“As the review progresses we might come forward with remedies. The PCC has the power to stop any transaction that might restrict competition,” PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said.

“There are many ways to skin the cat. You do not know if what you heard is the only way and that is the focus of this hearing, to find what the other options are,” Balisacan added.

The PCC launched its motu proprio review to determine how the Grab-Uber merger would affect the ride-sharing market, as well as its impact on the thousands of Uber partner drivers who could be displaced.

The commission is allowed by law to initiate its own probe if there arise concerns about fair competition, such as the emergence of a monopoly in an industry.