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Activision Blizzard Loses EU Court Challenge to Antitrust Fine

An Activision Blizzard Inc. unit lost a bid to have the European Union’s highest court reduce an antitrust fine levied on a cartel involving Nintendo Co.

The European Court of Justice, the 27-nation EU’s top tribunal, today dismissed the appeal, ruling that the documents EU regulators had relied on “constituted sufficient evidence of the existence of an agreement between Activision Blizzard and Nintendo which was contrary to EU law.”

The European Commission, the EU antitrust agency, fined Nintendo and seven distributors 167.8 million euros ($228.9 million) for colluding between 1991 and 1998 to raise prices of games and consoles. Nintendo won an appeal to the EU’s second-highest court in 2009 cutting its fine by 20 percent to 119.2 million euros from 149.1 million euros.

The Belgian unit of Germany’s CD-Contact Data GmbH, which has since become Activision Blizzard Germany, was the only company in the cartel to appeal its fine to the EU’s top court. The lower EU court in 2009 halved its 1 million euro-fine to 500,000 euros because of the company’s “passive role.” CD-Contact became Nintendo’s importer for Belgium in 1997, according to the commission.

The case is C-260/09 P, Activision Blizzard Germany (anciennement CD-Contact Data) v European Commission.

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