Intel to challenge antitrust fine in EU court

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 25, 2012 9:09 AM
Intel to challenge antitrust fine in EU court

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp will ask Europe's second-highest court in July to scrap a 1.06 billion euro ($1.4 billion) EU antitrust fine, arguing regulators failed to prove it blocked a rival in their 2009 decision.

The European Commission, which acts as EU competition regulator, penalized Intel with its largest ever corporate fine because of anticompetitive tactics against arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

The decision came after an eight-year-long investigation.

Intel will argue its case in a four-day hearing at the Luxembourg-based General Court on July 3 to 6, said two people familiar with the case.

The company has said the fine, which represented 4.15 percent of its 2008 turnover, was "manifestly disproportionate". EU regulators can penalize companies with fines of up to 10 percent of their global revenue.

Intel has already gained backing from the European Ombudsman, who censured the Commission for procedural errors in its investigation.

In his non-binding report issued five months after the regulatory finding, the Ombudsman said he had found "maladministration" because the regulator had failed to make a proper note of a meeting with computer maker Dell Inc during its probe.

The case is T-286/09, Intel vs Commission.

($1 = 0.7574 euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Rex Merrifield and David Holmes)