Sotheby’s has just concluded another chapter in the continuing saga of former price-fixing collusion with Christie’s auction house. This Canada-based story will hit the newspapers (including the WSJ) tomorrow, but the most complete account I’ve seen on the web so far comes from CBC News. According to that report:
The probe turned up no evidence that the price-fixing conspiracy affected sales held in Canada, according to the [Canadian Competition] Bureau. However, investigators believe Sotheby’s may have induced Canadian sellers to put their property on the block in the U.S. or in other locations where the fixed commission rates had been in effect.
No penalties for that, apparently, except defraying the $722,000 ($800,000 Canadian) investigative costs of Federal Court’s bureau. In 2001, Sotheby’s and Christie’s agreed to a $512-million settlement in the class-action antitrust lawsuit that alleged collusion on commissions in the U.S. They later agreed to pay an additional $20 million each to settle a lawsuit that charged them with conspiring to fix commissions at auctions conducted outside the U.S.