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Booking faces a ‘mega fine’ of 486 million imposed by the CNMC

Date: April 21, 2024 Time: 20:15:35

The largest fine in history is about to become official. The online travel giant Booking.com faces paying 486 million euros for a sanction that the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) in Spain is finalizing. The organization has already provisionally communicated the decision to the group, which has decided to provision it in its accounts. The technology company plans to challenge “aspects of the fine” that is imposed for anti-competitive conduct.

The CNMC began an investigation in October 2022 into the practices carried out by the American company. It focused on anti-competitive practices that could affect hotels and online travel agencies. In the month of January, as confirmed by the company in its annual report presented to the US SEC, the body chaired by Cani Fernández has communicated the draft decision that must be confirmed. This is expected to happen in July of this year.

Specifically, the figure is the highest in history, being more than double the amount posed to the large construction companies by the ‘cartel’. It is 486 million euros (530 million dollars). The import, according to Booking, is based on the group’s historical revenue. It is possible that the final penalty could be increased when it is permanently closed. For now, the American group has decided to provision this amount in its accounts despite the fact that it will likely fight in court.

In the group’s communication there is no mention of what practices the Spanish organization has detected to put this sanction on the table. What it does point out is that in addition to the fine, it imposes a series of restrictions on certain commercial practices that serve as a basis for determining how to classify hotels in their presentation to customers.

As happens in all these cases, the technology giant is prepared to file a lawsuit when the decision is made official. “Booking does not agree with the justification set out in the draft and continues to collaborate with the CNMC before the decision is finalized,” he notes. If it is finally confirmed, the group assures that it will challenge the conclusions.

Two years of research

The file was opened in 2022. It has its origin in two complaints received at the CNMC by the Spanish Association of Hotel Directors and the Madrid Hotel Business Association. The reported practices would consist of the possible imposition of unfair conditions on hotels located in Spain and the implementation of commercial policies that could have had exclusionary effects on other online travel agencies, as well as other online sales channels. .

On the other hand, the behaviors investigated would also include practices that would exploit the situation of economic dependence that hotels located in Spain would have with respect to Booking.com. This fact would constitute an act of unfair competition that could distort free competition, affecting the public interest, as the CNMC pointed out at the time.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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