Grab’s Bid to Acquire Trans-Cab Under Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) Scrutiny
Before Grab started making headlines for its potential “foodie” move to snatch up foodpanda in Singapore, it was already in the limelight for another “grabby” endeavor.
You might say, when it comes to business, Grab doesn’t just hail a cab; it buys the whole company.
Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) Raised Concerns About Grab’s Proposed Takeover of Trans-Cab
Back in July, the streets were abuzz with news that Grab was setting its sights on Trans-Cab, planning to acquire it by year’s end through its car rental division, GrabRentals.
For those not in the know, Trans-Cab isn’t just any taxi company; it’s Singapore’s third-largest, trailing behind the giants ComfortDelGro and Strides Premier (which, by the way, used to cruise the streets separately as Strides Taxi and Premier Taxis).
This wasn’t just a small transaction either. The deal was set to include a whopping 2,200 taxis and over 300 private-hire vehicles from Trans-Cab’s fleet. And if that wasn’t enough, Grab was also eyeing Trans-Cab’s vehicle workshop and fuel pump operations.
However, as with any major takeover, there are always speed bumps (pun totally intended).
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) revved up its engines and began its initial review of the deal on 7 August , even seeking public opinions just a week later.
But it seems the CCCS wasn’t ready to give the green light just yet. After completing the first phase of its review, the antitrust regulator expressed concerns.
They couldn’t confidently say that the takeover wouldn’t pose competition issues. The feedback they received hinted at concerns over how Grab’s ownership might influence Trans-Cab drivers’ choices in using other ride-hailing platforms.
This, despite existing regulations that prevent ride-hailing operators from tying their drivers down to exclusive arrangements.
In a statement, the CCCS mentioned, “Accordingly, CCCS needs to review the competition effects of the proposed acquisition in greater detail.”
They also hinted that Grab and Trans-Cab might need to make certain commitments to ensure fair competition.
If not, a more detailed Phase 2 review would be in the cards.
Grab’s Response to the Traffic Jam
In response to the regulatory concerns, a Grab spokeswoman assured that both Grab and Trans-Cab are dedicated to ensuring the deal is a win-win for commuters.
Their goal? To elevate the standards of the point-to-point transport industry in Singapore.
She emphasized that by bringing Trans-Cab’s fleet into the digital age, they aim to boost driver productivity and taxi availability. This means quicker rides for consumers and better earnings for drivers.
And for those worried about exclusivity?
Grab was clear: “Trans-Cab drivers will continue to have the flexibility to earn through multiple ride-hailing platforms and pick up street-hail rides.”
In the meantime, foodpanda is also up for grabs, and Grab might just grab it. Here’s a video about the other Grab story: