Fender at centre of price fixing claim

July 2018

Musical instruments and technology


The world-famous guitar maker Fender and four leading keyboard manufacturers are at the centre of a price fixing investigation after “dawn raids” were carried out at their British offices by staff from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Although the companies have not been officially named, The Sunday Telegraph named the four companies as Yamaha, one of the biggest musical instrument manufacturers in the world, Roland, Korg and Casio. The CMA is investigating alleged anti-competitive agreements in the musical instruments and equipment sector under Chapter I CA98 and Article 101 TFEU.

The CMA website states that five separate “initial investigations” have been launched into “suspected breaches of competition law by various parties”. It adds that inquiries “relate to alleged anti-competitive agreements and/or concerted practices in relation to musical instruments and equipment”, adding that it is focusing on “suspected anti-competitive agreements”. However, the CMA stresses that the investigations are “at an early stage and no assumptions should be made that competition law has been infringed”.

The inquiry is thought to be focusing on whether any attempt has been made to manipulate sales of musical instruments and pro-audio equipment, the supply of stick and price fixing. It is understood 14 leading music shops have been asked to provide details of their dealings with the companies. The shops are not under any suspicion of wrongdoing. The sale of musical instruments and sheet music in online and from shops is worth around £500 million a year in Britain.

Paul McManus, chief executive of the Music Industries Association said: “As the trade body for the UK musical instrument industry we have naturally offered all possible support and help to the CMA in their investigation. “We are a very small part of the overall music industry and we are concerned that we have warranted this investigation.”




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