EU antitrust officials raid Red Bull

EU antitrust officials raid Red Bull

Authorities investigating claims that energy drink giant might have abused market dominance

A promotional car sporting a giant Red Bull can is seen in Japan. (Photo: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima via Wikimedia Commons)
A promotional car sporting a giant Red Bull can is seen in Japan. (Photo: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima via Wikimedia Commons)

BRUSSELS: European Union antitrust investigators have raided the energy drink maker Red Bull over suspicions it abused its dominance in the wildly popular market, officials said Tuesday.

Red Bull said EU Commission officials “visited our premises” on Monday.

“We will, of course, work with them on all matters that concern them,” the company said in a statement, declining to comment further.

The EU’s executive arm said earlier that its teams carried out unannounced inspections on Monday “at the premises of a company active in the energy drinks sector in various member states”.

It did not name the company nor say in which countries investigators — joined by competition authorities of each member state affected — had conducted raids.

The commission is investigating allegations that the company violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.

If the company raided is guilty of antitrust violations, it risks large fines but can be granted immunity if it cooperates with the commission.

The Yoovidhya family of Thailand holds 51% of the shares in Red Bull, which is based in Fuschl-am-See in western Austria.

The late Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz developed Red Bull after discovering the drink while on a business trip to Thailand. He made the drink a global phenomenon and forged a title-winning Formula One team and a sports empire.

After Mateschitz died last October at age 78, Red Bull named a board of three directors to lead the company.

His son, Mark Mateschitz, now owns Distribution and Marketing GmbH, which holds the other 49% of Red Bull shares.

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