Grab was fined about $6.4 million while Uber was fined about $6.58 million by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
SINGAPORE - Singapore's competition watchdog on Monday (Sept 24) fined ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber a combined $13 million for their merger in March, which saw the sale of Uber's South-east Asian business to Grab for a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab.
Grab was fined about $6.4 million while Uber was fined about $6.58 million by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS).
In a statement, the CCCS reiterated its decision that the deal between the two firms had reduced competition in the ride-hailing scene and said it had infringed Section 54 of the Competition Act, which prohibits mergers that could significantly reduce competition in any market here.
"Mergers that substantially lessen competition are prohibited and CCCS has taken action against the Grab-Uber merger because it removed Grab's closest rival, to the detriment of Singapore drivers and riders," said CCCS chief executive Toh Han Li.
"Companies can continue to innovate in this market, through means other than anti-competitive mergers."
In addition, the CCCS directed both parties to lessen the impact of the transaction on drivers and riders, and to open up the market and level the playing field for new players.
The measures include ensuring Grab drivers are free to use any ride-hailing platform, removing Grab's exclusivity arrangements with any taxi fleet in Singapore, maintaining Grab's pre-merger pricing algorithm and driver commission rates, and requiring Uber to sell the vehicles of Lion City Rentals to any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair market value.
This was in exchange for the American ride-hailing giant getting a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab, as well as a seat on the Singapore-based firm's board.
The CCCS later started investigations into the deal, believing it had infringed competition laws.
These investigations were completed on July 5, when the watchdog said it found the merger had "substantially lessened" competition in the sector and proposed measures.