EU expands scope of investigation into cartel concerns in food delivery

European Union antitrust regulators conducted another series of raids on two online food delivery companies headquartered within the bloc.

The Commission did not name the companies involved but the move follows unannounced EU inspections in July 2022 – which reportedly took place at the offices of Glovo in Spain and Delivery Hero in Germany. Both companies later confirmed the inspections.

Last year the EU said its actions were linked to concerns over potential violations of competition laws against the formation of cartels and other restrictive business practices. The latest inspections are a continuation of the 2022 investigation, according to the Commission, which says that the scope of the inspection is expanding.

“The scope of the investigation, initially including alleged market allocations, has now been expanded to cover additional conduct in the form of alleged no-poach agreements and exchange of commercially sensitive information,” it said in a press release.

Glovo, and its parent company Delivery Hero, have been contacted for comment.

Berlin-based Delivery Hero was founded in 2011, and now has operations in 70+ countries around the world – operating under several different food delivery and quick commerce brands, including some acquired by acquisition. The latter includes Barcelona-based Glovo, a delivery app and q-commerce platform with a focus on food, founded in 2014 but joining Delivery Hero at the end of 2021.

While this is the second batch of unannounced inspections of two food delivery companies the Commission’s PR emphasizes that such raids are “a preliminary step towards investigating suspected anticompetitive practices “. “The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behavior nor does it judge the outcome of the investigation itself,” it added.

There is no set legal deadline for the completion of investigations into anticompetitive conduct. So it’s unclear when the investigation will be completed — or what its outcome will be. Although the Commission is known to have widened the scope of what it is looking at.

The EU runs a sustainability program for infringing companies that choose to cooperate with cartel investigations. It also provides a whistleblower tool where individuals and companies can report antitrust violations on an anonymous basis.

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