Jan 27, 2023
Intel Could Face Fresh EU Fine in Years-Old Antitrust Case
(Bloomberg) -- Intel Corp. is still in the crosshairs of European Union antitrust regulators even after the bloc’s second-highest court toppled a €1.06 billion ($1.2 billion) fine against the chip giant.
The US firm said in its annual report that the European Commission may still levy another penalty because judges had backed one part of the regulator’s original findings stating that “Intel made payments to prevent sales of specific rival products.”
This month, the EU watchdog “reopened its administrative procedure to determine a fine against Intel based on that alleged conduct,” the company said. “Given the procedural posture and the nature of this proceeding, we are unable to make a reasonable estimate of the potential loss or range of losses, if any, that might arise from this matter.”
The revelation of the EU revisiting its probe adds to Intel’s woes after the firm gave one of the gloomiest quarterly forecasts in its history as a personal-computer slump ravages the chipmaker’s business, sending shares tumbling and further setting back turnaround efforts.
Read More: Intel’s Grim Outlook Sparks Broader Selloff in Chips Stocks
The company looked like it had won a historic victory in a landmark ruling a year ago that upended one of the EU’s most important antitrust cases. The EU General Court ruled that regulators made key errors in a landmark 2009 decision over allegedly illegal rebates that Intel gave to PC makers to squeeze out rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
Spokespeople for the European Commission and Intel declined to comment on the potential for further fines.
Last January’s court decision was a stinging defeat for the commission, which hadn’t lost a big antitrust case in court for more than 20 years. The commission’s appeal is pending at the EU’s top court since April.
Judges at the EU’s lower court said the commission provided an “incomplete” analysis when it fined Intel, criticizing it for failing to provide sufficient evidence to back up its findings of anti-competitive risks.
Intel said at the time it “always believed that our actions regarding rebates were lawful and did not harm competition.” It said the semiconductor industry “has never been more competitive than it is today and we look forward to continuing to invest and grow in Europe.”
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