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Grab and Uber put off merger in Singapore for a week

Antitrust watchdog wants more time to study the proposal

Grab welcomes Uber drivers at this tentlike registration station in Singapore. (Photo by Kentaro Iwamoto)

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's competition commission on Friday said Grab and Uber Technologies have agreed to postpone the merger of their ride-hailing apps in the city-state for seven days, until April 15.

The committee apparently would like more time to review the two ride-hailing services' merger plan.

Grab and Uber had planned to combine their services by Sunday throughout Southeast Asia. 

So far, Singapore is the only Southeast Asian country where Grab and Uber have delayed the plan, but the move could influence the process in neighboring nations where the two companies have big footprints.

A Grab spokesperson told Nikkei that the merger will take place on Sunday as planned in other markets.

According to Friday's statement by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore, Grab and Uber proposed a set of alternative interim measures to the authority, which March 30 set some requirements to preserve competition in the sector.

The CCCS asked the companies to maintain pre-transaction conditions, such as independent pricing and service options, as well as to not take any action that might lead to business integration in Singapore until the commission completes its review of the matter.

"To facilitate the CCCS's deliberation on the proposed alternative interim measures, Grab and Uber have agreed to extend the initial shut-down date of the Uber ride-hailing app in Singapore from April 8 to April 15," a  CCCS statement says.

On March 26, Grab and Uber announced they would merge their Southeast Asian operations. The Singapore commission started investigating the matter the following day.

The CCCS will make a final decision after completing the investigation. A commission spokesperson earlier told Nikkei that the duration of the investigation depends on the case, and that the authority "is aware of the need to expedite investigations in this case."

Grab operates in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Authorities in the Philippines started looking into the merger on Tuesday.

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