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Online advertising and related services under antitrust investigation in Mexico

Mexico Publication August 2020

Authored by Hernán González and Dante Trevedan.

Mexico's antitrust agency, the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE), formally announced that it has launched an investigation into potential vertical anti-competitive practices (prácticas monópolicas relativas) that may have adversely affected the online advertising sector in Mexico.

The investigation, initiated ex officio by COFECE earlier this month, but was formally announced this week, focuses on potential anti-competitive practices such as product tying, price fixing and other conducts aimed at hindering the productive process and unduly reducing the market share of other competitors in the sector.

COFECE has up to 120 business days as of August 10, 2020, to conduct its investigation. This term may be extended up to four times, and at the conclusion of the probe, COFECE will issue a resolution either formally initiating a process against the involved economic agents or dismissing the case.

If COFECE holds that anti-competitive practices in fact occurred, involved parties may face fines of up to 8% of their revenue and will be ordered to cease the anti-competitive practices. These fines would be irrespective of, and in addition to, any criminal or civil liability that the economic agents may face. Any individuals found guilty of participating in the prohibited conducts may also face substantial fines in addition to civil and criminal liability.

COFECE did not name the party or parties under investigation.

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