Officials in Singapore and the Philippines had fined Grab and Uber for similar deals in those countries.
Vietnam Competition Council (VCC) announced on Thursday that Grab’s acquisition of Uber in the country was in compliance with Vietnam’s competition laws.
In a press release, the VCC said it had determined that the acquisition did not translate into an act of economic concentration as stipulated in Article 17 of the Competition Law and Article 34 under Decree No 116 on Competition.
The VCC made its decision following a hearing on June 11 with the presence of all involved parties. The decision rejected a prior conclusion of Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA), a separate entity within the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The VCA found that combined market share between Grab and Uber in Vietnam prior to the merger had exceeded 50 per cent, which was a violation of the country’s competition laws. Grab officials appealed the conclusion, claiming that the VCA had misinterpreted the scope of relevant markets.
The Vietnam merger was only part of a larger deal between Uber and Grab for market dominance of the latter in Southeast Asia: in exchange for a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi joining Grab’s board, Uber had ceeded its operations and assets in Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
“This deal is the largest-ever of its kind in Southeast Asia,” ride-hailing service Grab said in a media release in March 2018.
Both Singapore and the Philippines had accused Grab and Uber of violating their antitrust laws, and had punished the companies accordingly. Singapore fined both companies a sum of $9.5 million in September 2018, and the Philippines followed with a fine of $300,000 a month later.