(photo credit: MCT)
The Antitrust Authority investigation into bookseller Steimatzky Ltd. has taken a dramatic turn. Sources
inform Globes that Steimatzky CEO Iris Barel and another executive have been
questioned under caution for allegedly violating the terms of its merger with
bookstore chain Sifri. Questioning under caution indicates that the Antitrust
Authority believes that it has grounds for an indictment.
Tzomet Sfarim Ltd. have been waging a price war. In early July 2011, Steimatzky
allegedly demanded exclusivity from publishers on books sold in sales campaigns,
which would result in Steimatzky's competitors being forced to sell the books at
full price. An industry source said the case involves hundreds of
Some publishers, including Yediot Aharonot Publishing House Ltd.,
Keter Books Ltd., Matar Books Ltd., and Kibbutz Hameuhad Publishing House,
allegedly agreed to Steimatzky's demand.
In response, Tzomet Sfarim told
publishers that it would not carry their books if the acceded to Steimatzky's
demands. It also filed a complaint with the Antitrust Authority, which notified
publishers that their conduct was illegal and constituted a
Steimatzky withdrew its demand after a meeting with the Book
Publishers Association of Israel.
Antitrust Authority director general
David Gilo ordered an investigation against Steimatzky, as one of the conditions
of Steimatky's merger with Sifri was non-intervention in publishers' relations
with bookstores and chains.
Steimatzky declined to comment on the report.