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Piano Maker Steinway Swiss Dealers Raided in Antitrust Probe

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- The offices of Steinway & Sons Swiss dealers were raided as part of an antitrust probe into piano purchases at the Zurich University of the Arts.

Evidence indicates that there may have been agreements on sales territories and prices for Steinway pianos, the Swiss Competition Commission said in an e-mailed statement today. Imports of pianos from neighboring countries may have been impeded or prevented, the watchdog said. The probe was started yesterday.

“Tip-offs from the Canton of Zurich and further investigations brought evidence to light which suggested undue restrictions on competition,” the Bern-based commission said. “In particular this regards agreements concerning the foreclosure of sales territories and prices for instruments from Steinway & Sons, Hamburg.”

The Zurich building department in April published a tender for pianos and grand pianos for the university. Offers were due by June 29 and the instruments are to be delivered in July 2013, according to the tender document.

Steinway spokeswoman Sabine Hoepermann in Hamburg declined to immediately comment on the investigation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zoe Schneeweiss in Zurich at zschneeweiss@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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