A couple of months ago Uber announced that they would be selling off their operations in Southeast Asia to their rival Grab. However it seems that it wasn’t necessarily a done deal as it was suggested that Grab’s acquisition of Uber could be violating competition laws. We’ve seen regulators in the Philippines launch an investigation, and now it seems that Vietnam is next.
In a report from Reuters, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade said that they will be launching an “in-depth investigation” into Grab’s takeover of Uber in Southeast Asia. This is based on an initial probe in which they found that the takeover could be in breach of antitrust law.
The investigation is expected to take 180 days and can be extended by an additional 120 days, which means in theory it could take nearly a year to complete, which means that the deal won’t be finalized anytime soon. Neither company has commented on the investigation, but given that Southeast Asia is a pretty big market and consists of a few countries, we wouldn’t be surprised if more oppositions to the deal were to pop up along the way.
Uber has so far successfully sold off their operations in countries like China and Russia, but those were to local competitors. This deal in Southeast Asia would be to a single company who operates in multiple regions, which if it had gone through would effectively leave no alternative (save for taxis and private car companies).