American Uber’s sale of its South-East Asian branch to Grab seems suspicious, at least with regards to Singapore’s watchdog-Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS).
CCS asserts that it has reasonable grounds for suspecting competition rules had been infringed in the deal between ride-hailing moguls Uber and Grab. Levelling interim measures on both companies, CCS probes further concerns that Grab will control a virtual monopoly over the ride-hailing sector. This is rather pertinent as the merger between Grab and Uber would likely result in a substantial decrease in competition, thus the CCS has the power to rescind the merger or at least modify it to the government’s satisfaction.
The CCS has maintained that both companies will not be allowed to integrate their operations until the CCS investigation is complete, whilst being forced to maintain separate pricing and an inability to carry out their deal.
Singapore University of Social Sciences senior lecturer and transport economist Walter Theseira said: “It is a calibrated move on the part of the commission and is by no means an arbitrary decision. The commission needs to know the full ramifications of the merger and if public interest is being harmed.”
Interestingly, Uber did not respond to this development.