ADSENSE

Monday

Uber and Grab hit with $9.5M in fines over ‘anti-competitive’ merger

12:12 AM 0 Comments

Uber and Grab have been hit with combined fines of $9.5 million after their merger deal was found to have violated Singapore’s anti-competition laws.

Grab acquired (and then merged/closed) Uber’s Southeast Asia business in March, but the Competition Commission of Singapore today declared the deal is “anti-competitive” following a months-long investigation into its impact on Singapore.

The CCCS levied an SG$6,582,055 (US$4.8 million) fine on Uber and an SG$6,419,647 (US$4.7 million) fine on Grab, but it won’t unwind the deal, which had been an option. The fines relate only to the businesses in Singapore, which is just one of eight markets where Uber and Grab competed. Grab has raised $6 billion from investors so it shouldn’t have an issue paying that back.

Chiefly, the CCCS found that Grab had raised prices by 10-15 percent following the deal, whilst its market share grew to 80 percent. That’s despite Grab co-founder Hooi Ling Tan claiming that there is still plenty of competition across Southeast Asia.

“At the conclusion of its investigation, CCCS has found that the Transaction is anti-competitive, having been carried into effect, and has infringed section 54 of the Competition Act by substantially lessening competition in the ride-hailing platform market in Singapore,” the agency wrote.

Grab, which is valued at $11 billion and is pushing itself as an all-in-one ‘super app,’ wasn’t legally compelled to notify the CCCS of its deal with Uber. But the commission does warn companies to consider reaching out it if the deal in question leaves the merged entity with upwards of 40 percent market share, or the post-merger combined market share of the three largest firms is 70 percent or higher. Grab contacted the CCCS only after the deal was announced.

It’s worth noting that the Philippines, the only other Southeast Asia country to launch an investigation into the deal, approved the merger without repercussions last month.

Through its investigation, the CCCS engaged with Grab to make a number of requests on its business, they included restoring its pre-deal pricing and commission rates, cutting exclusivity agreements with taxi operators, and removing lock-in for drivers that use its rental partners or Uber’s Lion City Rentals business. Those are broadly the same again — and the commission did note that Grab had changed its loyalty program post deal.

“Mergers that substantially lessen competition are prohibited and CCCS has taken action against the Grab-Uber merger because it removed Grab’s closest rival, to the detriment of Singapore drivers and riders. Companies can continue to innovate in this market, through means other than anti-competitive mergers,” CCCS chief executive Toh Han Li said in a statement.

In keeping with recent traditional around CCCS statements, Grab produced a lengthy response of its own. One part to highlight is its apparent insistence that the merger deal did not significantly impact competition.

“Grab had, with its advisers, assessed that the transaction would not result in a substantial lessening of competition,” so said Daren Shiau, who is co-head of Allen & Gledhill’s Competition & Antitrust practice, one of the firm’s that Grab retained.

Shiau’s statement is something that the 80 percent market share stat suggests is untrue. No doubt many consumers and drivers, who today have fewer options, will also disagree with.

Here’s Grab’s full statement in all of its glory:

We have been working with the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) during its review over the past few months. Today, we are glad that the CCCS has completed its investigations on the Grab-Uber transaction and did not require the transaction to be unwound. Grab completed the Transaction within its legal rights, and still maintains we did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws.

Grab agrees that keeping the market open and contestable is best for consumers and drivers, and we will abide by the remedies set out by the CCCS. However, it is unfortunate that the CCCS is taking a very narrow market definition in arriving at its conclusion that the Transaction has led to a substantial lessening of competition. Commuters are free to choose between street-hail taxis and private hire cars, and it is a fact that private-hire car drivers’ incomes are directly impacted by intense competition with street-hail taxis.

We recognise that the CCCS’s position on non-exclusivity arrangements is to set the right tone for the transport industry. Grab agrees with, and has long advocated for, industry-wide regulations that allow drivers to freely choose which platform or operator they wish to drive with. For drivers to have full maximum choice, all transport players, including taxi operators, should also be subjected to nonexclusivity conditions. Grab should not be the only transport player subjected to non-exclusivity conditions. This is inconsistent with taxi industry practices and we will continue our dialogue with the CCCS and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to create a level playing field for all. In this respect, we welcome CCCS’s willingness to review the remedial measures as market conditions change. We also note that the LTA is reviewing the regulatory framework for the point-to-point transportation sector, which we hope will address non-exclusivity across the industry.

Grab is committed to fair pricing and has not raised fares since the Transaction. Grab will continue to adhere to our pre-transaction pricing model, pricing policies and driver commissions. We have been and will continue to submit weekly pricing data to the CCCS for monitoring.

Grab is making every effort to serve our customers better and we are adding more app features that will improve the user experience for customers and drivers. We want to contribute meaningfully to Singapore’s solutions to enhance urban liveability.

For example, we are studying data and vehiclesharing services to play our part to optimise Singapore’s overall transport network. As one of the biggest tech employers in the country, Grab is making significant contributions to Singapore’s economic development and we will continue to develop Singapore’s talent in product development and design, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and engineering.

Grab is heartened to receive the support of governments across Southeast Asia to enable us to serve Southeast Asians better. The recent decisions by Philippine Competition Commission and CCCS in not pursuing the route of unwinding the Transaction demonstrate a deeper appreciation of Grab’s potential to serve the region.

Asia Cup 2018: India vs Pakistan match all set to start within few hours

12:12 AM 0 Comments

Get Daily Updates In Email

Asia Cup 2018: India vs Pakistan match all set to start within few hours

India vs Pakistan, the match has always been the most popular mode of the viewer’s entertainment. Today again the steam inside the viewers will raise high up. Both the team will be seen on the ground with great zeal and energy.

The India-Pakistan match has returned once again with the same amount of zeal as it was in the previous match. In the previous match between the respective countries, India had an amazing victory over Pakistan While Pakistan will have to improve in their batting department India has lesser concerns after winning all the matches in the Asia cup so far.

Courtesy

Out of the 13 times India and Pakistan met in the Asia Cup, the Men in Blue have won 7 times, the Green Army were victorious 5 times with one being declared No Result. India are the most successful side participating in the Asia Cup, having won the title a total of six times. Pakistan, on the other hand, has won twice.

Only a few hours have been left for the captains to go on the yard for the toss, well the tossing decision might change the match perspective lets just keep our fingers crossed and wait for that time.

Courtesy

However, all that could change on this Super Sunday when the arch-rivals return to the 22 yards in the super four-match 3 in Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai 5:00 PM. The heat and the nature of the pitch continue to remain the same and a score above 300 seems unlikely. But even a 250-280 is a par score and may well serve a thrilling match. Can that happen? Stay connected and get all the Live score and updates of India vs Pakistan Asia Cup 2018 Live ODI match with us.

Highlights:
1. Rohit Sharma is seen in full form with a good average.
2. Ravindra Jadeja could be seen taking good wickets considering his previous performance against Bangladesh.
3. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is four wickets away from registering 100 ODI wickets.
4. On the other side, Babar Azam – who averages 54.33 – will play his 50th ODI today.

Today another Match between Afghanistan and Bangladesh is going to held on the stadium of  Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. It is going to be the Super Match 4.

Courtesy

We will update you with all the latest news regarding Asia Cup 2018. Till then keep connected with us.

Published by Shifa Naz on 23 Sep 2018

Ekta Kapoor gets emotional for Kausatii Zindagi Kay 2, Pays Gratitude To The Show’s Old Star Cast

12:12 AM 0 Comments

Get Daily Updates In Email

Ekta Kapoor gets emotional for Kausatii Zindagi Kay 2, Pays Gratitude To The Show’s Old Star Cast

How many of us remember the show ‘Kasautii Zindagi Kay’, the famous Ekta Kapoor show. A lot of
Indian audiences were struck by the TV for watching this daily soap. The twist turns it took had
the audiences on their nerves and it was always about how the lead Prerna (Shweta Tiwari) struggled to find love and build a life. The show started in 2001 and was wrapped up in 2008 with a total of 1,423 episodes.

In a recent post made by Ekta Kapoor, the producer of this show gets nostalgic and pays gratitude to the entire cast of the show. That includes Shweta Tiwari, Cezanne Khan, Urvashi Dholakia, and Ronit Roy. The show was loved by the audience majorly because of the twist and turns it took. With every passing episode, Prerna and Anurag struggled to find a life where they could live together. The show was once having the highest TRP’s (television rating point).

Ekta Kapoor posted a video on her official Instagram handle with the love climax and she writes;
“As I indulge in nostalgia n start a new chapter of love it’s time to say thankuuuus ! @shweta.tiwari
@ronitboseroy @cezannekhan8686 @urvashidholakia9 there will always b a place in my heart for
the originals! Even d original writers n creatives rajubhai Dhiraj mahesh Doris tanu nivedita !loveee u all n thankuuuuu!!!!”

This shows the love and gratitude Ekta pays to her special cast of her very famous show Kausatii
Zindagi Kay. The video and caption shared on the post make it a very emotional post. While the
social media buzzes with the promotions and gimmicks of the part 2 for the show amidst this Ekta
shows her love.

The reboot of this show is all set to air with a totally new star cast. The audience cannot really hold the excitement and the wait is still on. With leading TRP’s of her other TV shows Ekta Kapoor decides to swoop all the TRP’s with the launch of this show.

Ekta Kapoor is someone who knows her audience very well and has given a number of hit TV shows
and movies too. with the same lead characters and being on the same grounds of love trivia, Kausatii Zindagi Kay 2 is all set to roll the audience and the TRP’s to sky high.

Published by Harmisha Chauhan on 23 Sep 2018

Sunday

Airbnb wants to give its hosts equity in its business

10:37 AM 0 Comments

Airbnb wants to give the homeowners who power its service the opportunity to own a piece of its business. That’s why, as Axios reports, the $31-billion-valued company has written to the SEC to ask if its rules around security ownership can be revised.

Specifically, Airbnb is seeking a change to the SEC’s Rule 701 — which governs ownership of equity in companies — to allow a new kind of shareholder class for workers who participate in gig economy companies and their services. Uber, for one, has met with the SEC to propose a similar allowance but Airbnb’s argument is laid out in a letter that you can read here (thanks to Axios.)

“As a sharing economy marketplace, Airbnb succeeds when these hosts succeed,” the company wrote in one passage. “We believe that enabling private companies to grant hosts and other sharing economy participants equity in the company from an earlier stage would further align incentives between such companies and their sharing economy participants to the benefit of both.”

Airbnb is said to be planning to go public potentially as soon as next year.

While it isn’t clear how earning equity might work for an Airbnb host — or an Uber or Lyft driver, for that matter — further amendment of rules would be required. Currently, SEC regulations require that any private company with over 2,000 shareholders or 500 or more who are not U.S. accredited investors, must be registered.

That’s clearly a problem for Airbnb which has grown to more than five million listings since its foundation in 2008. It remains to be seen how many of those homeowners could own equity even were the rules amended to allow it. More generally, though, gig economy startups won’t pursue the equity options for contractors if doing so then triggers mandatory SEC reporting whilst they are private entities.

Then there are additional complications for businesses that have expanded outside of the U.S. market. Most of Airbnb’s are located overseas — the service claims to offer lodgings across some 81,000 cities in over 190 countries — which makes handing out U.S-based equity tricky.

Still, Airbnb’s public acknowledgment of its hosts and the crucial role they play is a positive part of that relationship. That’s something rare, for sure.

Most of the discussion around the role between marketplace provider and gig economy worker has been negative, with Uber in particular keen to distinguish between contractor and company staff.

While this modern take on working gives those who choose it a degree of flexibility like never before, they are left without the standard perks of being a conventional employee, such as paid vacation, benefits, overtime, health insurance and more. A slew of startups have sprouted to help cover some of those gaps, but their solutions all come at a cost to the worker, many of whom are already financially stretched.

Neelakurinji Blooms In Munnar Once Again Post Kerala’s Heavy Rains

7:17 AM 0 Comments

Get Daily Updates In Email

Neelakurinji Blooms In Munnar Once Again Post Kerala’s Heavy Rains

Kerala, God’s own country had gone through a lot just a month ago with a concern that what shape the havoc of the century has left Kerala and its tourist spots. Although there is a lot to see in Kerala but someone who are visiting the state should once visit to see Neelakurinji. To see Neelakurinji at its full bloom in the peak season in Munnar is best. However, the heavy rains almost ruined the plans of tourists as seeing Munnar at the end of August and at mid-September and October is ideal. 

Neelakurinji

Image Source 

The people who have planned the trip to Munnar got disheartened after knowing the state’s condition post heavy rains. But, as some time passed, it brought some good news. Neelakurinji has begun blooming in Vattavada, Kolukkumalai, Top Station and Rajamala. The roads’ destruction, however, doubles the time of journey to reach the place where Neelakurinji bloom.

Throughout the way, due to heavy rains, roads and bridges are partly damaged which hinders the path of the tourists. Also, the havoc brought down the number of tourists in Munnar. Hotels, restaurants, and other places don’t look like before. However, the lives of Munnar are struggling to forget what happened a month ago and are looking forward to moving on.

Neelakurinji

Image Source

As per Radhakrishnan, a hotelier in Munnar, “In the past couple of years, we had seen an increase in the number of tourists here. This year with Neelakurinji blooming the entire industry had hoped for a good season. We had a lot of advance booking for September and October from all over India. But after the rains majority of them got cancelled. We had no choice, but to refund them the full amount.”

He added that “In the past two weeks, we have received a number of queries, mostly from north India. Before they book the rooms, they want to know if Neelakurinji has bloomed. I am hopeful that in the coming days we will get more bookings.”

Munnar

Image Source 

The hotelier further said, “If you look around there is hardly any crowd now. But it is a lot better than a few weeks ago. I hope to more people will come here in the coming days.”

Neelakurinji blooms in Vattavada, Kolukkumalai, Top Station and Rajamala, but picking Rajamala is good as it is neae Eravikulam National Park, home of the endangered Nilgiri Tahr.

In spite of all the destruction made at Kerala, if you visit Munnar at this point in time, you can say that Munnar has survived the heavy rains and is ready to welcome tourists yet again.

Published by Harmisha Chauhan on 23 Sep 2018