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Uber's Southeast Asia merger delayed pending reviews

The Philippines and Singapore want more time to look at the deal.
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Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

Uber is normally glad when its service keeps running in a given country, but not this time around. The Philippines has ordered Uber to keep its local service active while antitrust investigators review the merger with Grab's Southeast Asia business. The ridesharing outfit had already agreed to delay its shutdown in Singapore, regulators said, so it would be feasible to ask for a similar move in the Philippines.

It's a last-minute move: the shutdown was supposed to take place April 8th. If and when Uber can close up shop will depend on the review, and there's no guarantee it will work in the company's favor when competition officials are concerned that Grab might "harm the riding public" with a monopoly.

Uber has declined to comment. We'd expect it to push hard for the merger, though. As in China and Russia, the company is backing out to save money and guarantee revenue in regions where a rival dominates. While this would give Grab an even larger slice of the market, there might not be much point to fighting what could be a losing battle.

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