Samsung, Philips among companies raided by EU antitrust investigators

Inspections are part of inquiry into anticompetitive practices

Samsung, Philips and electronics retailer Media-Saturn were among the companies raided by European officials this week as part of an investigation into possible anticompetitive agreements about online sales of electronics.

The companies disclosed on Friday that they were targets of the raid. The European Commission has confirmed that the raids took place on Tuesday, when officials initiated unannounced inspections in several European Union countries. The Commission did not disclose the names of the companies under investigation.

"The Commission has grounds to suspect that the companies subject to the inspections may have put in place restrictions on online sales of consumer electronic products and small domestic appliances," the Commission said in a news release. The companies concerned may have violated E.U. antitrust rules that prohibit anticompetitive agreements, it added.

If these restrictions are indeed in force, they may lead to higher consumer prices or the unavailability of products through certain online sales channels, the Commission said. A Commission competition official declined to say Friday what those restrictions are.

The official also declined to disclose which companies were raided and how many are involved. The Commission does not divulge the names of companies being investigated this early in an inquiry, the official said, adding that sometimes companies will disclose their involvement voluntarily.

Samsung, Philips and Media-Saturn, a company with net revenue of €21 billion (US$28.7 billion) that operates electronics retail brands Saturn, Media Markt and Redcoon, acknowledged on Friday their involvement in the inspections but declined to comment on details about the investigation.

Samsung is cooperating fully with the European Commission, a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. She declined to comment further.

Philips was visited by Commission officials earlier this week, a spokesman said in an emailed statement, adding that Philips is fully cooperating with the inspection. The company declined further comment.

"We can confirm that the EU-Commission has visited us on December, 3rd," a Media-Saturn spokeswoman said in an emailed statement, adding that Media-Saturn too is fully cooperating with the official authorities. "We do not want to disclose any further details at this moment," she added.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in an antitrust investigation, the Commission said. However, the fact that the Commission is conducting an inspection does not mean that a company is guilty of anticompetitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself, it said. There is no deadline set to complete the investigation, the Commission added.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags legalantitrustSamsung ElectronicsMedia-Saturn

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?