Uber has been approved by the National Economic Prosecutor's Office (FNE), Chile's antitrust regulator, to acquire the Chilean grocery shopping app Cornershop, according to an FNE statement.
“With the background information obtained during the investigation, the FNE became convinced, within the legal term, that the operation does not substantially reduce competition and, consequently, cannot negatively affect, in terms of access, price, quantity or quality, the conditions of use of the last-mile service platforms of supermarkets and in the other markets in which the parties in Chile participate,” FNE said.
FNE made the approval “without conditions,” according to a Reuters report. Uber has been seeking to enhance its services to include grocery delivery and other merchandise.
Uber first announced it was looking to acquire a stake in the Santiago-based Cornershop app in October 2019. The deal was waiting for a green light from officials in both Chile and Mexico. Although Chile has now granted permission, Mexico regulators still have not.
If the Uber-Cornershop deal is fully approved, Uber said it would expand grocery delivery beyond Mexico, Chile, Canada and Peru, and into other regions worldwide, according to Reuters.
The FNE said it was originally worried that Uber’s purchase of the app would stifle online delivery competition and launched an investigation, Reuters reported. The agency ultimately decided the acquisition would not affect competition.
The FNE said in the statement that its investigation began on Dec. 11, 2019, and was carried out in two stages; the first lasted 30 days.
Mexican antitrust officials in 2019 blocked a similar, $225 million bid by Walmart to buy Cornershop, Reuters said, citing concerns the retail giant could not guarantee a level playing field for rival retailers.
There is no set time regarding when Mexican regulators will make a decision.
In January, Uber announced it was also in talks with Organic Garage, saying it had crafted “a partnership with Cornershop to utilize the digital app or website for the online ordering and delivery of groceries from all Organic Garage retail locations.”