EU slaps $130 million fine on four electronics firms for fixing online prices

European Commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager addresses a press conference on Belgium excess profit tax scheme at the European Commission in Brussels on January 11, 2016.

The European Commission imposed a fine of 111 million euros ($130 million) on four consumer electronic firms Tuesday, for fixing prices on their resold items.

Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer all limited the ability of online retailers to price items as they saw fit. The four manufacturers apparently threatened or sanctioned the online retailers who wouldn't comply with their price suggestions.

“These well-known manufacturers of consumer electronics, they put pressure on online retailers to maintain higher prices. They did so during a period from 2011 and 2015,” Margrethe Vestager, the European competition commissioner, said in a press conference Tuesday.

“As a result of the actions taken by these four companies, millions of European consumers faced higher prices for kitchen appliances, hair dryers, notebook computers, headphones and many other products,” Vestager said, adding that this behavior is “illegal under EU antitrust rules.”

All four companies saw the fine lowered between 40 and 50 percent because they cooperated with regulators. The final amounts resulted as follow: Asus to pay 63.5 million euros; Denon & Marantz fined with 7.7 million euros; Philips to pay 29.8 million euros and Pioneer owes 10.2 million euros.

Click to show more