Is Grab's Acquisition of MoveIt Legal? Transport Groups Want Deal Reviewed
The government needs to review Grab’s acquisition of motorcycle-riding app MoveIt, transport civic groups said on Thursday (September 8).
Representatives of Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection, National Public Transport Coalition, Arangkada Riders Alliance, and Digital Pinoy signed a petition that questions the legality of the deal between MoveIt and Grab.
The group wants government agencies to convene a new technical working group (TWG) for the pilot study of motorcycle taxis and insisted Grab Philippines’ acquisition of MoveIt is a way for the superapp to participate in the pilot program for motorcycle taxis without going through the government-mandated process for accreditation.
The deal “should not mean” Grab’s instant accreditation to the pilot study, the petition said.
“It should not mean that when a TWG accredited company withdraws or shows that it is no longer interested in operating a motorcycle taxi service, very much like the planned sale of MoveIt to Grab, the accreditation is automatically transferred,” said Ariel Inton, founder of Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection.
“There must be a justification of the sale made to the TWG as MoveIt is under the jurisdiction of the government inter-agency group so the legality of the sale, and the alleged subsequent automatic granting of the accreditation can be studied,” added Ariel Lim, National Convenor and Chairman of the National Public Transport Coalition.
Grab acquired MoveIt in August 2022 framing it as a way for the relatively small company to compete aginst bigger players in the industru, including Angkas and JoyRide.
In a statement, MoveIt said the allegations against the deal were merely an attempt to keep it “so small that it would not pose any competition to the two other operators.”
“Competition will make the MC taxi business vibrant and its service better to the benefit of the riding public,” MoveIt said.
The acquisition deal is “the same situation in Angkas, one of the two other MC taxi operators, which got investments from a foreign company,” it added. “Creador, the investor, did not acquire the accreditation of Angkas.”
MoveIt added that its own corporate identity and branding under the leadership of its chairman Francis Juan will remain.
“MoveIt welcomes the entry of more operators for public good. This will force all operators to compete and offer the best services and benefits to both drivers and riders,” the company said.