Clear Channel Denmark pays fine of DKK 6 million in competition case

Clear Channel Denmark has admitted to infringing the Danish Competition Act by fixing discounts on advertising space in outdoor media. The company has accepted to pay a fine of DKK 6 million.

Clear Channel Denmark has admitted to having violated the Danish Competition Act and has agreed to pay a fine of DKK 6 million. The Special Crime Unit has been responsible for the criminal proceedings, after the Danish Competition Council reported the company to the police.

In December 2018, the Danish Competition Council decided that Clear Channel Denmark and a competitor had violated the Danish Competition Act by entering into illegal agreements and coordinating their practice of common discount rates for the sale of advertising space in outdoor media. The two media providers sell advertising space on posters and billboards at bus stops, train stations, airports and shopping malls.

The case concerns two periods. During the first period from 5 September 2008 to 31 December 2010, Clear Channel Denmark had entered into written agreements with a competitor on common discount rates for media commissions, collateral, information compensation and cash discount. During the second period from 1 January 2011 to 21 April 2015, the two companies continued to use the previously agreed discount rates, however there is no evidence of a written agreement after 2010.

When determining the size of the fine, emphasis is placed on the seriousness of the infringement, the duration of the infringement and the company's global group turnover. It has been a mitigating circumstance that Clear Channel Denmark has acknowledged the infringement throughout the course of the proceedings in the first period and now also acknowledges the infringement in the second period.

In 2019, the Danish Competition Appeals Board upheld the Danish Competition Council's decision, after which the case was appealed to the Maritime and Commercial Court. The Maritime and Commercial Court ruled that the two competitors had only infringed the competition rules during the period in which written agreements existed. The Danish Competition Council then appealed the Maritime and Commercial Court's judgment to the Court of Appeal of Eastern Denmark, which ruled in accordance with the original decisions of the Danish Competition Council and the Danish Competition Appeals Board.

The criminal proceeding against Clear Channel Denmark's competitor is still pending.