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Amazon Faces UK Probe Over Suspected Anti-Competitive Practices

Britain's antitrust watchdog is investigating Amazon.com Inc on concerns it was hurting competition by giving its own sellers an unfair advantage over third-parties on the marketplace.

The move adds to the global regulatory scrutiny of the US tech giant.

Britain's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it opened an investigation on Tuesday into whether Amazon's practices affecting sellers on its domestic marketplace may be anti-competitive and could result in a worse deal for customers.

"It's right that we carefully investigate whether Amazon is using third-party data to give an unfair boost to its own retail business and whether it favours sellers who use its logistics and delivery services – both of which could weaken competition," Sarah Cardell, general counsel at the CMA, said in a statement.

Fast Delivery

Millions of people across Britain use Amazon's services for fast delivery, the CMA said.

The investigation follows a current European Commission (EC) probe looking at similar concerns but which does not cover issues affecting Britain following Brexit, the CMA said, adding that it seek to liaise with the EC.

EU antitrust regulators in November 2020 charged Amazon with distorting competition in online retail markets and opened a second investigation into the company's business practices.

The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that Amazon will share more data with rivals and offer buyers a wider choice of products as part of a deal with the EU.

Amazon will give third-party sellers on its marketplace access to more information that could help sell more products online, the FT said.

Investigation 

The British regulator said its investigation would focus on three main areas, including how the Seattle-based company collects and uses third-party seller data and how it sets the eligibility criteria for selling under the Prime label.

Amazon.com did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment outside regular business hours.

Separately, Germany's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday subjected the e-commerce giant to stricter supervision rules, saying Amazon's position is of outstanding, cross-market importance for competition.

News by Reuters edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more technology news click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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