OYO-MakeMyTrip Vs FabHotels-Treebo: CCI Asked To Decide The Case Afresh
A two-judge bench of the Gujarat High Court has set aside the interim relief granted to FabHotels and Treebo by the competition regulator. The high court allowed OYO to file its objections before the Competition Commission of India within two weeks.
In March, the competition regulator directed MakeMyTrip-Goibibo to relist FabHotels and Treebo’s properties on its portal. The interim directions were given by the CCI in its ongoing investigation into the alleged anti-competitive conduct of MMT-Go and OYO. Aggrieved by this order, OYO had approached the Gujarat High Court to set aside the CCI’s order.
OYO argued that it’s a necessary party in the case and would be directly adversely affected by the directions issued by the CCI. And since it was not given any notice or opportunity before the CCI passed its interim directions, principles of natural justice and fair play have been violated.
Noting the consensus between all the parties and the CCI, the high court concluded that the matter should be decided afresh by the regulator after giving OYO an opportunity to present its case. The high court has directed the CCI to decide on FabHotels and Treebo’s request for interim relief within four weeks.
In November last year, FabHotels and Treebo had complained to the CCI that MMT and OYO have entered into a confidential commercial agreement. According to the terms, MMT agreed to give preferential treatment to OYO on its platform, leading to a denial of market access to Treebo and FabHotels.
The regulator agreed and noted that providing access to Treebo and FabHotels will not cause any unnecessary hardship to MMT-Go.
“While the non-accessibility may significantly hamper the online visibility of the claimants i.e. FabHotels and Treebo but more importantly of the associated budget hotels that avail of the franchise services of FabHotels and Treebo, providing such access does not seem to cause any significant comparative hardship to MMT-Go as such.” - CCI’s March Order
MMT-Go will earn revenue in the form of commission on every consummated booking of FabHotels or Treebo branded property through its portals, without incurring any significant costs for allowing such access, the regulator had pointed out while granting an interim relief.