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EU to investigate Nike over licensing practices

Reuters API
today Jun 14, 2017
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EU antitrust regulators opened an investigation on Wednesday into U.S. footwear maker Nike , Comcast's Universal Studios and Hello Kitty owner Sanrio to see if the companies are illegally blocking online sales in the bloc.

Instagram: Tom Sachs and Nike's new Mars Yard 2.0

The crackdown by the EU competition authority followed an inquiry into e-commerce practices by some 1,900 companies in Europe, part of a strategy to boost online trade and economic growth.

"We are going to examine whether the licensing and distribution practices of these three companies may be denying consumers access to wider choice and better deals in the single market," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Nike is the license rights holder for Barcelona soccer club merchandise, while Sanrio owns the Hello Kitty brand, which emblazons items ranging from stationery to clothing. Universal Studios hold the rights for movies such as Minions and Despicable Me.

The Commission launched an investigation in February into online sales of consumer electronics makers, video game makers and hotels.

Last week it announced a probe into U.S. clothing company Guess' cross-border distribution deals. Companies can face fines up to 10 percent of their global turnover if found guilty of breaking EU antitrust rules.


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