The Federal Trade Commission is scrutinizing a partnership struck in May between Uber and Gopuff that allows people to order items from Gopuff through the Uber Eats delivery app, according to two people familiar with the matter and a document seen by The Information. The FTC is looking to see whether the agreement could hamper competition in online sale and delivery of alcohol and convenience-store items, the people said.
That investigation, opened at the end of June, has dovetailed with the agency’s review of Uber’s $1.1 billion planned purchase of alcohol-delivery company Drizly. While the two probes are technically separate, an FTC team in New York is managing both, and they both involve the same markets, according to the people and the document.
The overlapping investigations signal that antitrust regulators are looking to intervene in still-developing industries in an effort to avoid repeating what some at the agencies believe were mistakes—decisions made a decade ago to not bring enforcement actions when companies including Google and Facebook were cementing their dominance in search and social networking.
The FTC’s probe of the Uber-Gopuff partnership is also one of the rare instances where regulators are examining a deal that doesn’t involve an acquisition or investment, reflecting regulators’ increasing willingness to take on other types of business arrangements, such as sales and licensing deals.