Uber ordered to continue operations beyond April 8

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Uber was scheduled to turn over its services to Grab on April 8.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 7) — The government's anti-trust body has ordered ride-hailing service provider Uber to continue operations pending the review of its acquisition deal with Grab Philippines.

The order issued Friday by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) suspends Grab's move to acquire its competitor.

Uber was scheduled to turn over its services to Grab on April 8. Users were told to book their rides using the Grab app starting April 9.

"In a bid to protect competition in a looming monopoly, the PCC issued a set of Interim Measures to ensure the welfare of the riding public and the drivers while the in-depth merger review of the Grab-Uber deal is ongoing," the PCC said in a statement Saturday.

The measures include maintaining the independence of both ride-sharing companies' business operations, including:

  • ride hailing and delivery platforms;
  • pricing and payment policies including incentives and promotions to riders;
  • product options;
  • customer and rider database; and
  • on-boarding of new partner drivers.

"The PCC believes Uber is capable of operating its ride-hailing app in the country, despite its claims that it has already exited the Southeast Asia market," PCC Chair Arsenio Balisacan said, adding the company has extended its operations in Singapore.

The PCC conducted a public hearing with the representatives of the parties on Thursday on the measures. Grab and Uber both disputed the proposal, saying that Uber no longer has the manpower and funds to operate in Southeast Asia.

Grab said this poses certain risks because Uber will no longer have customer support.

On Friday, Grab assured government data of Uber users will not be shared.

The review was opened Tuesday, as the country's anti-trust watchdog saw a "virtual monopoly" forming after Grab's acquisition of Uber.

"A merger or acquisition review using competition lens will determine whether the merger of two players in the ride-sharing market will substantially lessen competition," it said. "The PCC may prohibit any merger should anti-competitive concerns arise out of the transaction review."

Under PCC rules, failure to comply with the order will result in penalties of ₱50,000 up to ₱2 million for each violation. Parties, however, are given a chance to explain the non-compliance.