Italy regulator launches probe into Booking.com for potential abuse of dominant position


ROME, March 22 (Reuters) - Italy's antitrust has opened a probe into Booking.com BKNG.O to establish whether the travel website is in a potential abuse of dominant position, the regulator said on Friday.

The watchdog said that the website's handling of the hotels that are part of its Preferred Partner Programme "seems likely to hinder effective competition in the market, at least nationwide, for online hotel brokerage and reservation services".

This strategy is "to the detriment of other online travel agents with negative effects on accommodation facilities and, ultimately, on consumers in terms of higher prices and less choice.", the authority said in a statement adding that it had carried out inspection in the Italian offices of the company.

Booking.com was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Giulia Segreti, editing by Gianluca Semeraro)

((Giulia.Segreti@tr.com; +39.06.80307714;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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