The watchdog said Uber’s agreement to fold its operations into Grab had 'substantially lessened' competition since the two were each others’ closest competitors
The watchdog said Uber’s agreement to fold its operations into Grab had 'substantially lessened' competition since the two were each others’ closest competitors © Reuters

Singapore’s competition watchdog has fined Uber and Grab more than S$13m ($9.5m) over an “anti-competitive” deal to merge the two ride-hailing companies’ operations in the country.

The Competition and Consumer Commission said it had fined Uber S$6.58m and GrabS$6.4m to “deter completed, irreversible mergers that harm competition”.

Uber sold its south-east Asian operations to Grab in March in return for a 27.5 per cent in the Singapore-based company. The deal sparked an investigation by the commission, which it said at the time resulted in the “substantial lessening of competition”.

“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 Toh Han Li, chief executive of the commission.

The commission said Grab held 80 per cent of the market and that exclusivity agreements with drivers and taxi companies hampered the ability of competitors to enter the market. It directed Grab to remove exclusivity agreements with taxi fleets in Singapore.

Uber was also directed to sell vehicles belonging to Lion City Rentals, a car rental service, to "any potential competitor who makes a reasonable offer based on fair market value" to prevent Grab and Uber from absorbing or hoarding the fleet to limit access by a new competitor.

The commission told the Financial Times that this was its final decision on the merger.

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