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Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Uber, Careem get blunt, public warning from Competition Authority

Competition watchdog gives Uber, Careem get blunt, public warning against merger: The Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) took the relatively unusual step yesterday of publicly warning Uber and Careem against a merger. Couched in the verbiage of the agency, the ECA noted in a statement to the press (pdf) that it has probed rumors contending the two ride-sharing companies were in merger talks. The authority notes that while Careem and Uber told investigators they hadn’t agreed to merge, “the Authority is however aware that this in itself does not mean the absence of current negotiations between both entities.”

The ECA has already come to the conclusion that any merger could be anti-competitive and publicly reminded the two companies that any merger or acquisition would accordingly require its review before being executed. The competition watchdog specifically pointed to a decision by its sister agency in Singapore that threatens to unwind a merger between Uber and rival Grab.

Background: Bloomberg broke the merger talks in July, prompting both companies to issue denials. Careem had said at the time that it was close to closing a new funding round meant to “bolster its position as Uber’s largest competitor in a fast-growing market.”

In other industry news: The executive regulations for the new Ride-Hailing Apps Act will not be issued before January 2019, says Rep. Mohamed Abdallah, a member of the House Transport Committee. He said the delay in issuing the regs — which were due out this month — owes to the number of parties and stakeholders involved in the drafting process, which include the ministries of transport, investment, ICT, and defense, alongside executives from Uber and Careem. The regulations will outline licensing requirements and fees for ride-hailing companies under the Ride-Hailing Apps Act, which was signed into law in June, a month after it passed the House of Representatives.

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