E-book companies raided over EU antitrust concerns

Unannounced inspections of e-book companies took place on Tuesday, and the European Commission has so far refused to identify the targets of the raids

European authorities have raided the offices of e-book companies over antitrust suspicions.

The unannounced inspections were carried out on Tuesday in "several member states", the European Commission said in a brief statement on Wednesday. The Commission would not say who was inspected or where in the EU the inspections took place.

It did say, however, that it had "reason to believe that the e-book companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and other restrictive business practices".

A spokesperson for competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia said on Thursday that the Commission had acted on its own initiative. No formal complaints have been received and the raids took place following "market monitoring and letters from MEPs and consumers", the spokesperson told ZDNet UK.

In its statement, the Commission stressed that such inspections are only a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices, and do pre-judge the outcome of any potential investigation. It also noted that the inspections were carried out with the assistance of "relevant national competition authorities".

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