UK Fines Amazon For Delaying Release Of Info In Deliveroo Investigation

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Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has fined Amazon over its failure to provide documents into its purchase of Deliveroo on time, Reuters reports.

The eCommerce giant was fined 55,000 pounds, or $72,364, for the offense.

Amazon purchased a 16 percent stake in the food delivery company during a $575 million fundraising around. The deal was finally approved in August by the CMA after 16 months of waiting, Reuters writes.

But according to the regulator, there were 189 documents, including multiple ones that were relevant to the Phase 2 Amazon/Deliveroo merger probe, that Amazon failed to produce on time for the first deadline.

The CMA found that although Amazon “did ultimately provide all of the information required, the CMA considers that Amazon’s behavior caused unnecessary delays to the CMA’s investigation,” Reuters reports.

The approval of the merger took a year due to the investigation. The CMA initially had concerns that the deal could be disadvantageous for shoppers, lessening competition. Part of the investigation that initially sounded alarms was an internal Amazon document claiming that the eCommerce giant would launch its own food delivery service if the deal didn’t go through.

The coronavirus pandemic had an effect on the delay, as the CMA struggled with how to deal with the then-new “essential worker” designation. That came as sign-ups for Deliveroo surged 86 percent in March of this year as the pandemic hit.

But ultimately, the CMA found that wouldn’t be a concern after looking hard at the competition Amazon will continue to face in that field, the size of the shareholding and how that would bear out for Amazon’s incentives.

The pandemic has seen grocery and food delivery become an increasingly popular, coveted mode of commerce, with every major player trying to set a stake down in the field. The number of deliveries has grown exponentially even month-to-month, and other big deals like Uber acquiring Postmates and Just Eat Takewaway buying up Grubhub have only expedited the profitability of the field.

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