July 9, 2019 / 10:00 AM / 10 days ago

Sanrio hit with $7 million EU fine for cross-border sales curbs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Japanese company Sanrio (8136.T), which owns the Hello Kitty franchise, was fined 6.2 million euros (£5.5 million) by EU antitrust regulators on Tuesday for preventing cross-border sales of its products in Europe.

The European Commission, which started an investigation into the company and several others two years ago, said Sanrio’s non-exclusive licensing agreements breached EU antitrust rules. The anti-competitive practices occurred from January 2008 to December 2018.

These included direct measures restricting out-of-territory sales by licensees and measures such as a audits and not renewing contracts to encourage compliance with the curbs.

The restrictions concerned products featuring Hello Kitty and other characters owned by Sanrio, the European Commission said in a statement.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Robin Emmott

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