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120/12 20 December 2012
The OFT welcomes today's Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) findings that Tesco infringed competition law in relation to certain anti-competitive exchanges of its pricing intentions on cheese products in 2002.
Tesco was found to have been involved in three anti-competitive A to B to C exchanges of information. The OFT welcomes the CAT's confirmation that a concerted practice consisting of indirect contact between competitors via their common supplier is no different in substance from two competing retailers sitting across the table and telling each other what their prices will be next week. This judgment sends a clear signal to all businesses that this conduct infringes competition law.
The CAT also found that, on the balance of probabilities, Tesco did not infringe the law in relation to a number of other alleged exchanges of future pricing information.
All other parties to the OFT's 2011 Dairy Retail Price Initiatives decision admitted liability for the infringements and paid penalties totalling over £39 million.
The OFT will consider the judgment in detail, including the next steps.
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