Commitments accepted in online auction platforms antitrust investigation

The CMA has accepted final commitments from ATG Media to address competition concerns relating to whether ATG abused a dominant position and/or enter into anti-competitive agreements.
The investigation, which was launched by the CMA within three months of receiving the initial complaint, focused on conduct by ATG that included:

  • Implementing exclusivity provisions preventing auction houses from using competing platforms;
  • Implementing so-called ‘MFN’ or price parity clauses preventing auction houses offering (and bidders paying) cheaper online bidding rates through other platforms; and
  • Restricting auction houses from advertising competing online platforms.

The CMA believed the practices may have prevented rivals from competing effectively with ATG. The commitments were offered just prior to a decision being issued by the CMA on applying Interim Measures in the case.

CRA advised the formal complainant in the case, providing economic analysis to show why the practices implemented by ATG were anti-competitive, and to support the Interim Measures application.

For more details of the case please see the CMA’s press release.

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