A PYMNTS Company

UK: British modeling agencies under antitrust fire

 |  May 25, 2016

The beautiful world of British modeling agencies may have been up to some anticompetitive ugliness, the U.K.’s antitrust authority alleged Wednesday.

The Competition and Markets Authority said five agencies and their trade group, the Association of Model Agents, engaged in price manipulation between April 2013 and March 2015.

Models 1 Ltd., Premier Model Management Ltd., Storm Model Management Ltd., Viva Model Management and the now-defunct F M Model Agency Ltd., which was liquidated in January, were allegedly involved.

The CMA said the Association of Model Agents played an important role in aspects of the alleged conduct, including the sending of “AMA Alert” emails that encouraged model agencies to reject the fees being offered by specific customers and to negotiate higher fees.

During the period of the alleged infringement, representatives of the five agencies ran the council that managed the association and used it as a vehicle for price coordination, the CMA said.

Viva said it “will be responding to the Statement of Objections in due course.” Models 1 and Premier declined to comment. The other named parties couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The findings are provisional, and no conclusion can be drawn at this stage that the named parties breached competition law, said Stephen Blake, senior director of the CMA’s Cartels and Criminal Group.

“The allegations concern prices charged to a range of customers, including high street chains, online fashion retailers and consumer goods brands,” Mr. Blake said. “We will carefully consider any representations from the parties before deciding whether the law has been broken.” The parties have until September to respond, a CMA spokesman said.

Full Content: Nasdaq

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.