EU Expands Probe into Food Delivery Cartel Concerns
European Union antitrust regulators have recently carried out another series of raids on two online food delivery companies headquartered inside the bloc. The companies involved have not been named by the Commission, but the move follows unannounced EU inspections in July 2022 at the offices of Spain’s Glovo and Germany’s Delivery Hero. Both companies have confirmed these inspections.
The European Union’s investigation into potential breaches of competition laws against forming cartels and other restrictive business practices has now expanded. Initially focused on alleged market allocations, the scope of the probe has widened to cover additional conduct, including alleged no-poach agreements and exchanges of commercially sensitive information. The investigation is a continuation of the 2022 probe, according to the Commission.
While this is the second round of unannounced inspections on the two food delivery firms, the Commission emphasizes that these raids are only a preliminary step toward investigating suspected anticompetitive practices. It is important to note that the Commission’s inspections do not imply guilt or prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.
Legal Deadline and Outcomes
There is no set legal deadline for completing investigations of anticompetitive conduct, so it remains unclear when the investigation might conclude or what outcome it could have. However, it is worth noting that the Commission has expanded the scope of its inquiry, indicating a potentially significant development in the case.
Leniency Program and Whistle-blower Tool
The EU operates a leniency program for companies that choose to cooperate with cartel investigations. Additionally, a whistle-blower tool is available for individuals and companies to anonymously report antitrust violations. These measures aim to encourage transparency and facilitate the detection of anticompetitive behavior within the food delivery industry.
Delivery Hero and Glovo are now targeted for an antitrust inspection by the EU. As the investigation progresses, further updates on the case are expected.