Vietnam starts antitrust investigation into Uber-Grab deal

By Dat Nguyen   May 19, 2018 | 12:12 am PT
Vietnam starts antitrust investigation into Uber-Grab deal
Grab motorbike taxi drivers wait for customers in downtown Hanoi. Photo by AFP
Competition authorities’ preliminary investigation found Grab has become a monopoly, with market share in Vietnam exceeding 50 percent.

Vietnamese authorities have launched an investigation into Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, which has shown signs of breaching local antitrust laws.

The investigation is estimated to take 180 days, starting Friday and can be extended by another 120 days, Vietnam Competition Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a statement.

Earlier the same week, the competition authority’s investigation found that Grab’s market share in Vietnam has gone up to above 50 percent since its ride-hailing rival Uber left the Southeast Asian market last month.

Vietnam's Competition Law from 2004 requires that all mergers and acquisitions (M&As) that result in a company gaining over 30 percent of market share must be reported to competition authorities. M&As that result in a company gaining over 50 percent of market share are restricted and can only be completed with permission from authorities.

Previously, Grab claimed that its combined market share with Uber in Vietnam is less than 30 percent, so it doesn’t have to “inform to the competition authority before proceeding and completing this transaction in the country.”

However, the ride-hailing app company was unable to submit evidence to prove that it did not violate the law.

In late March, Grab announced its acquisition of Uber in Southeast Asia, which saw Uber taking a 27.5 percent stake in Singapore-based Grab, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joining Grab’s board.

Grab was last valued in July last year at an estimated $6 billion.

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