Uber’s Singapore app extended till April 15 while Grab merger goes under competition review

CCCS will conduct an investigation into the Uber-Grab merger.
The Straits Times

Uber’s ride-hailing app will extend its lifespan in Singapore until Apr 15 while the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) reviews proposed alternative interim measures submitted by Uber and Grab.

On Apr 4, CCCS received written representations from Grab Holdings Inc. and Uber Singapore Technology, following CCCS’ issuance of the proposed IMD on Mar 30.

The proposed IMD was issued after CCCS began investigations into the unnotified merger transaction between Uber and Grab.

The merger marked the ride-hailing industry’s first big consolidation in the Southeast Asian region which is home to about 640 million people.

While the investigation is underway, the proposed IMD seeks to “preserve and/or restore competition and market conditions in relation to chauffeured personal point-to-point  transport passenger and booking services in Singapore”, CCCS said in an official statement.

Uber and Grab had proposed a set of alternative interim measures in their written representations of Apr 4 to address concerns from CCCS in the proposed IMD.

Grab made further submissions on Apr 6 following clarification by CCCS.

Currently, CCCS is reviewing the submissions in relation to the IMD, which includes the proposed alternative interim measures.

In the meantime, the two companies have agreed to extend the initial shut-down date of Uber’s app in Singapore from Apr 8 to Apr 15 to facilitate CCCS’ deliberation.

In a statement, Grab said it was engaging closely with the Singapore regulator.

“We’ve had productive discussions on our alternative proposals, which more appropriately address the CCCS’ objectives during this interim period, and which takes into account our role in Singapore’s vibrant point-to-point transport industry and how Grab serves commuters and drivers,” the statement said.

Adding that it hopes CCCS will complete its review “in an expeditious manner”, Grab said it would work with authorities to “ensure a pro-business and pro-innovation environment, so that Singapore consumers can benefit from new and improved services”.

The announced extension will also give Uber’s drivers more time to sign up for alternative platforms, Grab said.

The ride-hailing tech company said earlier that “thousands” of Uber drivers had already signed up with Grab.

Under Section 54 of the Competition Act & Merger Procedures, mergers that result, or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) in Singapore are prohibited.

Although merging entities are not required to notify CCCS of mergers, they are urged to conduct self-assessments to ascertain if a notification is necessary.

Where an unnotified merger is suspected to have infringed on Section 54 of the Act, CCCS can conduct its own investigation and push out mitigating measures.

This includes requiring the merger to be unwound or modified to prevent the SLC and issuing interim measures prior to the final determination of the merger.