Uber to appeal SG competition regulator’s decision on Grab deal

A man checks his smartphone whilst standing amongst illuminated screens bearing the Uber Technologies Inc. logo in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Uber won an 15-month probationary license to operate in London after convincing a judge and regulators that the ride-sharing service had shaken off its gung-ho attitude of the past. Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc on Monday said it will appeal a decision by Singapore’s anti-trust watchdog that its merger with Grab violated the city-state’s competition laws.

Last month, Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) had slapped a $9.5-million combined fine on Uber and Grab, ruling that the former’s takeover of the latter’s Southeast Asia operations had substantially decreased competition in the local ride-hailing market. Grab was fined $4.7 million (S$6.42 million) and Uber, $4.8 million (S$6.58 million).

“Our objective is not to challenge the remedies of the decision, which are in fact almost identical to the commitments that Uber and Grab voluntarily offered to the CCCS,” Uber said in a statement.

“Rather, we aim to clarify that the conclusion that our transaction with Grab led to a substantial lessening of competition, and that Uber intentionally breached the law, is unsupported and incorrect,” it added.

Uber has also asked CCCS to annul the fine, saying that the regulator has used a very narrow definition of the ride-hailing market.

Grab, meanwhile, has said that it will not appeal the CCCS decision.

Lim Kell Jay, Head of Grab Singapore, said: “We are committed to operating in an environment that best serves our customers. We are now fully focused on improving the Grab experience for our users, partners and merchants.”

Last week, the Philippines’ competition watchdog also imposed a combined $300,000 fine on the two companies for completing a rushed merger of their operations in the country, failure to maintain quality of services, and other violations of its previous interim order.

Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to Grab in March, where it took a 27.4 per cent stake in the Singapore-based ride-hailing firm. The merger covered Uber’s assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Uber’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, joined Grab’s board as part of the deal.

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