E-Hailing Services: Antitrust Implications of Uber and Grab`s Merger in Southeast Asia
Keywords:competition, merger, ridesharing, dominant position, substantial lessening of competition
Uber-Grab’s merger had attracted antitrust scrutiny by competition authorities in Southeast-Asia. The merger between the two had created a large giant company that provides various services through a platform such as ridesharing and food delivery services. According to the deal, Grab will take over Uber’s assets (ridesharing and food delivery service), and in return, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab. Although Grab claimed that the merger would create a cost-efficient platform in Southeast Asia and put it in a better position to serve consumers, there was a genuine concern that the merger will reduce competition in the market and provide incentives to Grab to engage in anti-competitive behaviour such as increasing the price of its services. This article aims to analyse how different countries in Southeast Asia responded to the Uber-Grab’s merger and measures taken to address competitive concerns ex-ante and ex-post-merger. Unlike other competition jurisdictions in Southeast-Asia, the Malaysia Competition Act 2010 contains no merger control provision, which empowers the Malaysian competition authority to block any merger that has the effect of substantially lessening competition. The studies on how other countries evaluated the Uber-Grab merger could assist Malaysia’s competition authority to regulate the future behaviour of the big digital platform in the Malaysian market. This article was written based on research that relies on both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include statutory provisions on competition, decision, proposed decision, interim measures, and others. while secondary sources include journal articles, news, internet resources, and others. The article also adopts a comparative approach in order to analyse the approaches and measures taken by the various merger control regimes in Southeast Asia in dealing with the Uber-Grab’s merger.
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