France, Sweden, Italy obtain anti-trust commitments from booking.com

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 21, 2015 6:26 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - France's competition watchdog said on Tuesday that in coordination with the European Commission as well as Swedish and Italian regulators it accepted extended commitments from online booking agent booking.com to address competition concerns.

These commitments undertaken for a five-year period will be implemented as of July 1, and will notably allow hotels to offer lower room prices on other online hotel booking websites, the statement said.

In December, booking.com, owned by U.S-based Priceline Group Inc, proposed scrapping the so-called pricing parity clause in its contracts which prevents hotels from giving discounts to its rivals.

The company was responding to pressure from rivals and regulators across Europe to allow more competition in the online hotel booking industry.

The European Commission, the anti-trust enforcer in the 28-country European Union, has been coordinating national probes in France, Italy and Sweden but has said it was not conducting its own investigation.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Michel Rose)