Grab-Uber deal comes under fresh antitrust scrutiny in Vietnam

By Nguyen Hoai   February 12, 2019 | 07:03 pm PT
Grab-Uber deal comes under fresh antitrust scrutiny in Vietnam
Grab said it did not breach Vietnam's competition law in its acquisition of Uber in March 2018. Photo by Reuters
Vietnamese authorities are set to further investigate the merger between Grab and Uber last year for possible violation of antitrust regulations.

The Competition Council said after a thorough examination of documents and arguments furnished by both parties it has discovered a number of new details related to possible violation of competition laws by ride-hailing platform Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s business operations last March

It has returned the case dossiers to the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s competition and consumer protection department for further investigation. The investigation is expected to go on until April this year.

Last year Singapore-based Grab acquired Uber in Southeast Asia in return for a 27.5 percent stake.

Vietnam’s Competition Law requires any merger or acquisition that results in a company gaining a 30 percent market share to be reported to competition authorities.

If a company gains a 50 percent market share from the deal, it can only be carried out with express permission from the authorities.

The department’s preliminary investigation found Grab’s market share had exceeded 50 percent since the acquisition.

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

Last October the Philippines’s competition watchdog fined the two companies a cumulative 16 million pesos ($296,873) saying they had completed the deal too soon and that the quality of service had dipped.

Singapore's competition authority fined them a total of S$13 million ($9.5 million) and announced other measures to address competition concerns arising from the merger.

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