European antitrust officials have begun an in-depth investigation into claims that Nike may have broken EU laws by restricting how traders can sell licensed merchandise.
The European Commission, which regulates European markets, said in a statement it was opening separate investigations on the same grounds into Comcast's (CCV) Universal Studios and Hello Kitty-owner Sanrio.
It said it was concerned that consumers were being forced to pay excessive prices because of practices that limit the sale of merchandise across national borders within Europe, and online.
"We are going to examine whether the licensing and distribution practices of these three companies may be denying consumers access to wider choice and better deals," said Margrethe Vestager, Europe's top antitrust official.
The investigations concern clothes, shoes, accessories, and toys on which an image or text is applied during the manufacturing process with the aim of increasing its appeal to consumers, often children.
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