Uber app ad on ComfortDelgro taxi from AFP

Temasek Holdings-linked transport operator ComfortDelgro may have managed to claw back part of it’s S$642 million from Uber after the American corporation agreed to let them pulled out of the deal. In Dec 2017, ComfortDelgro paid S$642 million and obtained the right to use Uber app by acquiring 51% of the Uber Singapore’s subsidiary, Lion City Rental.

A month later, Uber announced that they are pulling out of Southeast Asia and it’s Singapore business unit would be sold to Grab. ComfortDelgro taxi drivers who were told to use Uber was soon told to delete the app. The Uber app was only effectively switched off on 7 May earlier this month, after the toothless competition commission protested against Uber exiting the Singapore market.

The PAP government declared that the deal is “illegal”, launched an “investigation” into the deal and threatened to fine Grab 10% of their annual revenue for buying over Uber.

Uber’s Asia Pacific chief business officer Brooks Entwistle then declared they would not honour any competition law enforced by Singapore:

“From a business standpoint, Uber exited 8 markets, including the Phiippines, as of Monday. Now, I look after 10 markets, instead of 18. Our funding is gone. Our people are gone. We don’t intend to come back to these markets.”

In their press release yesterday, ComfortDelgro did not reveal how much losses were incurred in the Uber pull out, as a full refund is unlikely given that ComfortDelgro was using the Uber app for 6 months before it’s closure. The major shareholders of ComforDelgro are all Temasek Holdings’ subsidiaries.

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