Vietnam ruling: Grab-Uber deal does not violate antitrust laws

By Dat Nguyen   June 19, 2019 | 04:12 am PT
Vietnam ruling: Grab-Uber deal does not violate antitrust laws
Grab insists it did not infringe Vietnam's antitrust laws by acquiring Uber's operation in Southeast Asia. Photo by Reuters/Beawiharta
Vietnam’s Competition Council ruled Wednesday that Grab’s acquisition of Uber last year did not infringe the Competition Law. 

It dismissed the preliminary investigation results of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s competition and consumer protection department, which found that Grab’s market share had exceeded 50 percent since the acquisition.

The 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 will gain a 50 percent market share after the deal, it can only be carried out with official approval.

The Competition Council, which is independent of the ministry, said it had heard the related parties on June 11 before making the ruling. The  competition and consumer protection department has 30 days starting Wednesday to appeal the verdict. 

Last year Singapore-based Grab acquired Uber in Southeast Asia in return for a 27.5 percent stake, a move which alarmed authorities in Vietnam and other Asian countries about possible contravention of antitrust laws.

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

The Philippine competition watchdog fined the two companies a cumulative 16 million pesos ($296,900), saying they had completed the deal too soon and that the quality of service had dipped.

The Singaporean 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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