The watchdog for competition recently gave the green light for Uber’s takeover of taxi tech firm Autocab, giving the ride-hailing behemoth a crucial boost for its UK operations.
The UK media, mostly the Telegraph, published that the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation at the beginning of the year to examine whether the deal would impact their rivals.
Uber gave a statement in August that it had finally reached an agreement to acquire the company, saying the purchase would aid in connecting passengers with local taxi drivers in areas it doesn’t serve at the moment.
The areas in question include: Oxford (which has an average of 68,000 app opens per month), Doncaster (24,500), Aberdeen (17,000) and Swansea (18,000).
As the deal formed, Uber agreed to keep Autocab as an independent business, with its own management and staff.
The probe found that there was only a small indirect competition between the 2 companies, with no evidence to suggest that Autocab could become a direct competitor to Uber in the future.
“Millions of people all across the UK use on taxis every day and technology has drastically transformed the way the industry works,” said Joe Bamford, senior mergers director at the CMA.
“It is therefore very important that company mergers like this one are properly inspected, down to every last detail, to ensure that customers aren’t negatively impacted.
“After a very thorough investigation, the CMA found no concerns with regards to competition, as a result of this deal going ahead.
“This is simply because these companies are not considered to be close competitors. The 2 businesses will each continue to face competition from their own rivals and Autocab’s existing customer taxi firms can choose to switch to alternative credible providers, should they wish.”
An Uber spokesperson stated: “We are absolutely delighted that the CMA has given their approval of our acquisition of Autocab.”
“We now look forward to working with the team at Autocab to help local smaller operators to grow and provide taxi drivers with real earning opportunities.”
The approval strikes a very much needed boost for Uber, after their UK business had been left reeling following the landmark Supreme Court ruling over how the taxi firm handles their workers.
Uber has now agreed to provide their drivers with holiday pay and a company pension after losing a long legal battle over how it classes their drivers as employees or self-employed.