Monday 7 September 2020 2:13 pm

Amazon fined by UK watchdog over late documents in Deliveroo probe

Amazon has earned a slap on the wrist from UK regulators after it failed to meet a deadline for vital documents, as part of a long-running probe into its stake in Deliveroo.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) today fined Amazon £55,000, after it was forced to delay its investigation of Amazon’s purchase of a 16 per cent stake in the food platform.

Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo was cleared by the CMA last month — 16 months after the company led the startup’s $575m series G funding round.

The CMA said today that 189 documents — some of which included a significant information for the second phase of its investigation of the tie-up — were not produced until after the initial deadline had passed.

“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,” it added.

The fine is split into two penalties of £25,000 and £30,000, as Amazon failed to provide complete responses to two sets of statutory information requests, the regulator said.

The statutory maximum that the CMA can fine a company for failing to meet a deadline is £30,000.

An Amazon spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting regulatory bodies in their work.

“We cooperated fully with the CMA’s inquiry and worked hard to provide large volumes of information in a timely manner. All requested documents were provided to the CMA.”

The investigation of Amazon’s stake in Deliveroo was complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, after Deliveroo’s financial health was called into question.

As the pandemic hit the CMA said it was minded to clear the deal as it believed Deliveroo may not survive without the additional cash. However a few months later, the CMA said Deliveroo’s situation had improved significantly and was no longer reliant on Amazon’s investment.

The deal was then approved last month, after the CMA found the tie-up would not lead to a lessening of healthy competition in the sector.