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Pierre Cardin, Ahlers distribution deals face EU antitrust scrutiny

Pierre Cardin, Ahlers distribution deals face EU antitrust scrutiny
By Reuters
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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS - French fashion house Pierre Cardin's licensing and distribution deals with German clothing maker Ahlers <AAHG.F> may breach European Union rules on online and cross-border sales, EU antitrust regulators said on Monday after opening an investigation.

The move by the European Commission, which acts as the EU competition enforcer, followed dawn raids at a German clothing maker in June last year.

"Pierre Cardin and Ahlers may have breached EU competition rules by restricting the ability of Pierre Cardin's licensees to sell Pierre Cardin-licensed products cross-border, including offline and online, as well as to specific customer groups," the Commission said in a statement.

The EU executive has reinforced rules against curbs on cross-border and online sales as part of a push to boost e-commerce.

The investigation will focus on whether Pierre Cardin and Ahlers, its largest licensee, have developed a strategy to prevent parallel imports and sales to specific customer groups of Pierre Cardin-branded products by enforcing certain restrictions in the licensing agreements.

Violations of EU rules are punishable by fines up to 10% of a company's global turnover and orders to the firms to change business practices.

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