PH Competition Commission begins review of Grab-Uber merger

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is looking into the merger between Uber and Grab, after expressing concern that it would lead to "a virtual monopoly in the ride-sharing market."

In a statement on Tuesday, April 3, the PCC said it began "a motu proprio review today of the acquisition by Grab Holdings, Incorporated and MyTaxi.PH, Incorporated of the assets of Uber BV and Uber Systems, Incorporated."

The antitrust watchdog noted that its preliminary assessment of the Grab-Uber deal "indicated that there are reasonable grounds that the said acquisition may likely substantially lessen, prevent, or restrict competition."

At the same time, the PCC pointed out that "the riding public and partner drivers may be adversely affected by the transaction."

The transaction, it noted, "will result in a substantial increase in concentration of an already highly concentrated market in an industry that provides a basic public service." (READ: PCC warns Grab-Uber deal may have 'far-reaching impact' on commuters)

A motu proprio review is when the PCC decides to conduct a probe on its own without the firms involved notifying the commission, in accordance with Section 13 of the Rules on Merger Procedure.

The review comes after the PCC met with Grab and Uber on Monday, April 2.

The PCC said that following the meeting, "it has not yet received any notification of the transaction from the parties."

"The parties also made representations that the transaction is not covered by the compulsory notification requirements under Section 17 of the Philippine Competition Act," added the PCC.

Uber announced last March 26 that it sold its operations in Southeast Asia to Grab. In turn, Uber will receive a 27.5% stake in the business. (READ: Philippines' privacy watchdog summons Grab after deal with Uber– Rappler.com