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The logo of Amazon is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France on June 21 2022. Picture: REUTERS/ERIC GAILLARD
The logo of Amazon is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France on June 21 2022. Picture: REUTERS/ERIC GAILLARD

London — Britain’s antitrust regulator is investigating Amazon for possibly restricting competition by giving its own sellers an unfair advantage in its marketplace over third parties, adding to global regulatory scrutiny of the US tech giant.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it opened an investigation on Tuesday into whether Amazon’s practices that affect sellers on its domestic marketplace may be anti-competitive and 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,” CMA general counsel Sarah Cardell said in a statement.

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

A spokesperson for Amazon said the company would co-operate with the CMA, adding that sales from the company’s selling partners continued to grow faster than Amazon’s retail sales.

The investigation follows a current European Commission (EC) investigation of similar concerns, but which does not cover issues affecting the UK since Brexit, the CMA said, adding that it wants to liaise with the commission.

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 information that could help sell more products online, the FT said.

The CMA 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.

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

Reuters

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