The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has imposed fines on thirteen undertakings totaling more than EUR 6 million for cartel activities in the market of pre-selected magazine packs and has held several executives jointly and severally liable for a part of these fines. The undertakings shared the market amongst themselves. They agreed not to actively approach each other’s customers, and made arrangements regarding their territories. As part of these arrangements, they frequently exchanged information. For customers, it was thus difficult to switch suppliers. Cartel agreements lead to reduced choice and higher prices for consumers. That is why cartels are prohibited by law.
Pre-selected magazine packs offer subscribers different magazines in a single pack, usually on a weekly basis. These packs can be rented out several times to different subscribers. In addition, many consumers read magazines in these packs at various locations such as waiting rooms, hair salons, restaurants, and gyms. Magazine packs are a relatively affordable way to stay informed and engaged with society. ACM finds it important that this option is not restricted by cartel arrangements such as the one at hand.