Spain tackles property websites suspected of price fixing

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday it was opening disciplinary proceedings against several property websites suspected of using their algorithms to fix prices.

“Such practices would consist of the coordination of prices and other commercial conditions by real estate intermediaries,” the CNMC watchdog said in a press release.

“This coordination would have been implemented, among other means, through the use of software and computer platforms and would have been facilitated by companies specialized in computer solutions...,” it added.

The proceedings affect seven companies, including Spain’s biggest property platform, Idealista SA.

Idealista said it “emphatically denies any participation in the investigated practices” and would work closely with the CNMC in its investigation.

The CNMC has a maximum of 18 months to conclude the investigation, which could lead to fines of up to 10% of the total turnover of errant companies.

Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; writing by Jessica Jones; editing by Nick Macfie