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Grab-Move It deal falls below threshold for regulatory review

THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said on Tuesday that Grab Philippines’ acquisition of motorcycle taxi firm Move It does not require its approval. 

“Based on an initial assessment by the PCC, Grab Philippines’ acquisition of Move It likely did not breach the thresholds for compulsory notification,” PCC Officer-in-Charge Chairman Johannes Benjamin R. Bernabe said in a statement.

“Hence, the parties need not wait for approval from the PCC to consummate the transaction,” he added.

The commission noted that the transaction was entered into by Grab and Move It when the P50-billion notification thresholds under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act was in effect.

“Likewise, the publicly announced size of transaction seems to not have breached the thresholds under the Bayanihan Law,” according to Mr. Bernabe.

But he added that the PCC may still launch a motu proprio review of the transaction if it suspects it will result in a “substantial lessening of competition in the relevant markets.”

Grab Philippines announced its acquisition of Move It in August, paving the way for its entry into motorcycle taxi operations.

“Transactions in digital markets are often characterized by small tangible assets that fail to meet the triggers for mandatory review. Their importance and utility to consumers, however, rank high in the priorities of the commission to merit steadfast monitoring,” the PCC said.

“To note, this new acquisition by Grab Philippines will not affect the company’s existing legal commitments to the PCC relating to its takeover of (the Philippine operations of) Uber,” it added.

The commission added that it supports efforts to amend the Land Transportation and Traffic Code to allow two-wheeled vehicles as a mode of public transportation.

“Notwithstanding any comprehensive competition review, the commission considers the availability of motorcycle taxis and future expansion for the entry of more players as an indicator of an emerging market offering additional public transport options for commuters,” the PCC said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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