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EU Fines Nintendo for Price Fixing

October 31, 2002|Alex Pham | Times Staff Writer

The European Union on Wednesday levied a $146-million fine against Nintendo Co. for allegedly fixing the prices of its video games and consoles from 1991 to 1998.

Two years ago, the EU ruled that the Japanese game company impeded free trade among European Union countries by instructing regional distributors not to ship products outside their territories. The result, according to the EU, was higher prices in some countries.

Nintendo agreed to stop the practice in 1998 when it was notified of an investigation, which concluded in 2000 with a ruling against the company.

The EU fine was larger than expected, said Edward Williams, industry analyst at Gerard Klauer Mattison, an investment banking firm in New York.

Nintendo plans to appeal the fine.

Peter MacDougall, executive vice president of Nintendo, said the fine, even if it stands, would not have a significant financial impact on the company.

Also Wednesday, Nintendo released Internet adapters for its GameCube console. The devices, priced at $34.95, let GameCube owners play online. The gadget launched concurrently with "Phantasy Star Online," a game developed by Sega Corp. for online play.

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