Amazon wants to seek a comparison for EU antitrust investigations

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Amazon plans to settle two EU antitrust investigations to avert potentially hefty fines and orders to change its business practices, people familiar with the matter said.

The European Commission last November indicted the world’s largest online retailer of using its size, power and data to promote its own products and to gain an unfair advantage over competing retailers selling on its online platform.

It also launched an investigation into a possible preference for Amazon’s own retail offerings and those of marketplace sellers who use its logistics and delivery services.

Amazon is in preliminary talks with the EU competition authority and has offered concessions to address their concerns, the people said.

It can take months for settlement talks to be concluded without an agreement on both sides being guaranteed.

However, Amazon could find an open ear from EU antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager, compared to the alphabet unit Google, which tried to come to an agreement with her, but failed.

Vestager, who has also taken a tough stance with Apple and Meta, cited Amazon’s willingness in 2017 to make concessions to enclose an investigation into its distribution agreements with e-book publishers in Europe, which it subsequently accepted.

A settlement offer enables a company to fend off regulatory demands for changes in business practices that are viewed as anti-competitive.

The commission, which can penalize companies with fines of up to 10 percent of their worldwide sales, declined to comment. Based on last year’s revenue, that could be around $ 38.6 billion (about Rs.286.214 billion) for Amazon.

Amazon is also under fire in India after thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters revealed it ran a systematic campaign to create imitations and manipulate search results to target its own product lines in India strengthen.

It is also facing an antitrust lawsuit in Washington DC over its agreements with wholesalers as well as third parties.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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