Grab, Uber fined P16M over merger
TRANSPORT network services providers Grab and Uber have been slapped a total of P16 million in administrative fines for violating the interim measures imposed by antitrust body Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) pending the review of their merger.
Grab and Uber, which merged operations on April 7, 2018 with Grab as the surviving entity, were given 45 days to settle the fines.
In a resolution issued on October 11, 2018, the antitrust body imposed a collective fine of P4 million on Grab and Uber; P8 million on Grab; and P4 million on Uber.
“This is a fair reminder to parties subjected to merger reviews to cooperate and comply with the commission’s orders. Selec- tive compliance adds to the burden of the review process, which in turn have reallife consequences on the public,” PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
“We urge future transactions to observe due diligence,” he added.
The collective fine of P4 million imposed on Grab and Uber is broken down as follows: P2 million for failing to keep operating separately from April 7 to August 9, 2018; and P2 million for failing to suspend Uber’s assumption of a board seat in Grab Holdings Inc.
The commission also imposed a fine of P8 million on Grab, as follows: P2 million for failing to maintain premerger rates; P2 million for failing to continue offering pre-merger promotions for riders; P2 million for failing to keep pre-merger incentives to drivers; and P2 million for failing to maintain the pre-merger quality of its services.
Uber was fined P1 million for each of the same violations, or a total of P4 million.
The PCC opened a motu propio review of the Grabuber merger on April 3, after both parties failed to inform the antitrust body about it.
Grab Holdings Inc. and Mytaxi.ph Inc. acquired the assets of Uber B.V. and Uber Systems Inc. in the Philippines as well as in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The commission earlier said their initial assessment showed that the merger of the two services would adversely affect the riding public and partner drivers.
In an attempt to protect the public and partner drivers from the ill effects of a monopoly, the PCC issued on April 6 an Interim Measures Order requiring Grab and Uber to, among others, continue operating separately while their merger was under review.
The Interim Measures Order listed seven measures aimed at maintaining market conditions.
In its October 11 resolution, the PCC said both Grab and Uber committed 10 acts of violation referring to two out of the seven measures. Each act of violation corresponds to a fine ranging between P50,000 to P2 million./sunstar Philippines with PR