Singapore watchdog says Uber-Grab deal may have infringed competition

Singapore’s Uber and Grab offices, where authorities have launched an investigation. (Reuters)
Updated 30 March 2018
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Singapore watchdog says Uber-Grab deal may have infringed competition

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s competition watchdog said it had reasonable grounds to suspect competition had been infringed by Uber Technologies Inc’s deal to sell its operations in Southeast Asia to rival ride-hailing firm Grab.
In a rare move, the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) has started an investigation into the deal and proposed interim measures that will require Uber and Grab to maintain their pre-transaction independent pricing, the watchdog said in a statement on Friday.
The proposal also requires Uber and Grab not to take any action that might lead to the integration of their businesses in Singapore, a move likely to pose a major hurdle to the US company’s attempt to improve profitability by exiting the loss-making Southeast Asian market.
It is the first time the commission has issued interim measures on any business in the country.
Uber and Grab announced the deal on Monday, marking the US company’s second retreat from an Asian market.
Under the deal, Uber will take a 27.5 percent stake in Grab, which is valued at around $6 billion, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join the Singapore-based company’s boar d.
CCS proposals also require both Grab and Uber not to obtain from each other any confidential information including pricing, customers and drivers.
The two firms will be given an opportunity to make written representations to the CCS upon receipt of the proposed interim measures, it said.
Singapore has a voluntary merger notification regime, and CCS has yet to receive the notification from Uber and Grab as of Friday, although the companies have indicated their intention to file a formal merger notification, CCS said.
Grab and Uber were not immediately available for comment.
The deal is the industry’s first big consolidation in Southeast Asia, home to about 640 million people, and is widely expected to give Uber more firepower to focus on other markets including India, as it prepares for an IPO in 2019.
Uber lost $4.5 billion last year and is facing fierce competition at home in the United States and across Asia, as well as a regulatory crackdown in Europe. The firm has invested $700 million in its Southeast Asian operations.


UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

Data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected. (Shutterstock)
Updated 16 July 2019
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UK core pay growth strongest in nearly 11 years, but jobs growth slows

  • Core earnings have increased by 3.6 percent annually, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent
  • The unemployment rate fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million

LONDON: British wages, excluding bonuses, rose at their fastest pace in more than a decade in the three months to May, official data showed, but there were some signs that the labor market might be weakening. Core earnings rose by an annual 3.6 percent, beating the median forecast of 3.5 percent in a Reuters poll of economists. Including bonuses, pay growth also picked up to 3.4 percent from 3.2 percent, stronger than the 3.1 percent forecast in the poll. Britain’s labor market has been a silver lining for the economy since the Brexit vote in June 2016, something many economists attribute to employers preferring to hire workers that they can later lay off over making longer-term commitments to investment. The pick-up in pay has been noted by the Bank of England which says it might need to raise interest rates in response, assuming Britain can avoid a no-deal Brexit. Tuesday’s data showed the unemployment rate remained at 3.8 percent as expected, its joint-lowest since the three months to January 1975. The number of people out of work fell by 51,000 to just under 1.3 million. But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year and vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a year. Some recent surveys of companies have suggested employers are turning more cautious about hiring as Britain approaches its new Brexit deadline of Oct. 31. Both the contenders to be prime minister say they would leave the EU without a transition deal if necessary. A survey published last week showed that companies were more worried about Brexit than at any time since the decision to leave the European Union and they planned to reduce investment and hiring. “The labor market continues to be strong,” ONS statistician Matt Hughes said. “Regular pay is growing at its fastest rate for nearly 11 years in cash terms and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.” The BoE said in May it expected wage growth of 3 percent at the end of this year.