PH antitrust watchdog slaps Grab, Uber with $300K fine

The Philippine antitrust watchdog has fined Grab Philippines and Uber a combined P16 million ($296,741) for completing a rushed merger of their operations in the country, failure to maintain quality of services, and other violations of a previous interim order.

Grab had in March announced the acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations. In April, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) issued an interim order asking both companies to maintain their pre-merger operations while it reviewed the deal.

In its latest verdict, PCC has fined Grab and Uber a combined P4 million for failure to keep their operations separate and delay Uber taking a seat on Grab’s board during the review period. Grab and Uber were fined another P8 million and P4 million respectively for not maintaining their pre-merger pricing policies, promotions to riders, driver incentives, and quality of services as directed.

The antitrust watchdog also ruled that Grab does not dispute that there was an increase in its pricing, yet another breach of the PCC’s order. It also highlighted the reports detailing the decline in the quality of Grab’s ride-hailing services.

“In an extreme situation of blatant disregard of the commitments, there is still the possibility of prohibiting the merger,” Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) Commissioner Stella Luz Quimbo was quoted as saying by the local media on Wednesday.

In a statement, Grab Philippines public affairs head Leo Gonzales said the company is studying all its legal options.

“We are currently studying all our legal options with regard to the fine imposed by the Philippine Competition Commission. We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available,” Gonzales said.

Soon after the deal was announced, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) had launched a review of the deal even as both firms insisted that the transaction was not covered by the compulsory notification requirements under the Philippine Competition Act.

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) approved Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s assets in the country in August but had imposed riders to protect pricing and service quality in the local market. It had also issued a show cause notice in the same month to both parties to explain why they should not be penalised for violating certain provisions of an interim order passed in April.

The PCC’s decision comes less than a month after Singapore’s anti-trust commission fined Grab and Uber a combined $9.5 million, saying the former’s acquisition of the latter’s Southeast Asia operations had substantially decreased competition in the local ride-hailing market.

Also Read:

Grab, Uber receive $9.5m slap on the wrist from Singapore competition regulator

Philippine regulator approves Grab-Uber deal with caveats

The post PH antitrust watchdog slaps Grab, Uber with $300K fine appeared first on DealStreetAsia.

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