Uber drivers' transition to Grab pushes through amid PCC review

MANILA, Philiippines – The review being conducted by the country's antitrust watchdog will not stop the full transition of Uber Philippines' drivers to Grab's platform by Sunday, April 8.

Grab Philippines public affairs head Leo Gonzales said the transition will proceed even as the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Tuesday, April 3, launched its own review of the local implications of the sale of Uber's Southeast Asian business to Grab.

"As the PCC conducts its review, Grab will continue to put our utmost support to ensure full transition of accredited Uber drivers onto our platform. To our driver-partners, we are doing our best to minimize any disruption of services so you can continuously get jobs," Gonzales said in a statement on Wednesday, April 4.

Even if the deal falls below the threshold of the PCC's mergers and acquisitions review, the commission started to look into the potential effects of the transaction, expressing concern that it would lead to "a virtual monopoly in the ride-sharing market."

Gonzales said Grab will fully cooperate in the watchdog's motu proprio review. (READ: As Uber gives up Philippine operations to Grab, what now for commuters?)

"We will prepare the necessary documents and share information required by the PCC, and will closely work with the commission to address whatever questions and clarifications they may have," he added.

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.

The PCC's mandate is to protect competition in the market and prohibit anti-competitive conduct, including mergers and acquisitions of businesses and companies that may substantially prevent, restrict, or lessen competition.

The antitrust watchdog said it will evaluate and analyze if after the acquisition, prices will likely increase; ride-sharing services will deteriorate; passengers will effectively have less options; and how likely new transport network companies (TNCs) will be able to fairly compete against the merged firm.

Should anti-competitive concerns arise, the PCC said Grab and Uber may propose commitments to remedy, mitigate, or prevent negative effects on market competition. – Rappler.com