Amazon Loses Court Fight Over Doubled-Up Antitrust Probe

(Bloomberg) — Inc. lost a European Union court bid to prevent the bloc’s antitrust arm and Italy running parallel investigations into concerns over how the e-commerce giant treats sellers on its platform.

The company’s challenge to a decision that allowed an Italian probe to continue alongside the European Commission’s own case was inadmissible, the EU General Court in Luxembourg said in an order published on its website. 

Amazon had asked the court in January to annul part of the commission decision last year to open a probe into the “buy box,” where Amazon highlights sellers of a particular product. Amazon said the EU should not have added a carve-out allowing a similar Italian probe to run on. 

The EU investigation is checking how Amazon selects retailers for the highlighted buy box on pages that attract some 80% of sales. Officials will check how sellers can offer products to Amazon’s Prime loyalty program, which offers free delivery, and if that effectively favors Amazon’s own products and sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery service.

Amazon said in an emailed statement that the company is “reviewing the court’s order and considering our next steps, including an appeal.”

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