Italian Regulator Agency To Probe McDonald’s

Italy’s antitrust authority AGCM will investigate McDonald’s terms and conditions in its agreements with franchise operators following several complaints, according to an AGCM document seen by Reuters.

The AGCM move could put the US fast-food chain at risk of a fine of as much as 10% of its global turnover if it is found guilty of breaching Italian antitrust rules.

The AGCM declined to comment. McDonald’s, which made US$19.2 billion in revenues in 2020, stated it was “certain of the correctness of our work” and open to collaborating with the agency.

The Italian competition watchdog stated that based on the available information there appeared to be a relationship of economic dependence between the store operators and McDonald’s.

Some of McDonald’s clauses in the franchising agreements cited by the complainants could constitute an abuse of economic dependence, it said in its decision to open an investigation, according to the document dated August 4.

The watchdog stated a series of pervasive and binding clauses on prices, promotions, stocks, supplies and purchases, financial management, among others, could be seen as elements of abusive conduct.

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