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By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad, Inquirer Business

Grab Philippines is beefing up its ride-hailing services portfolio with the recent acquisition of Move It, paving the way for the super app operator’s foray into the motorcycle taxi business.

Ronald Roda, senior director for strategy and operations at Grab, said that as a subsidiary, Move It would still be operating independently. The app would not be merged with the Grab platform, he said.

Move It chair Francis Juan would also be keeping his position, he added.

Roda said the deal was made amid the growing demand for motorcycle taxis, noting that the market remained underserved.

“For Grab, it is really because we believe that anything in the ride-hailing [business] for us is something that ultimately we need to be into,” he told reporters late Thursday. “We believe that just by ramping up the driver fleet and basic awareness, demand will come,” he added.

Both parties were eyeing to onboard 6,000 driver-partners in the next three months into the Move It app, which currently has less than a thousand.

The transaction cost was not disclosed but the Grab official said it was below the P1-billion threshold for compulsory notification of mergers and acquisitions imposed by the Philippine Competition Commission.

Doubling down

“As one of the first tech platforms who firmly believed in the potential and value of the Philippine market 10 years ago, we’re doubling down on our commitment to outserving the needs of the Filipino people, and we are optimistic that through Move It, we will create more livelihood opportunities, spur greater economic activities, and help improve every Filipino’s daily commute,” Grab country head Grace Vera Cruz said in a statement.

Transport advocacy group The Passenger Forum (TPF) welcomed the acquisition, which it said was a “step toward a more competitive market.”

“We are hoping that more players will come in so they will all compete to offer better rates, service and promotions. Commuters always prefer having choices so long as this is done in compliance with current regulations,” TPF convener Primo Morillo said.

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