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EU raids energy drink maker Red Bull in antitrust probe

EU antitrust investigators have raided energy drink maker Red Bull over suspicions it abused its dominance in the wildly popular market, officials said Tuesday.

Red Bull said EU Commission officials "visited our premises" on Monday.

"We will, of course, work with them on all matters that concern them," the company said in a statement, declining to comment further.

The EU's executive arm said earlier its teams carried out unannounced inspections Monday "at the premises of a company active in the energy drinks sector in various member states".

It did not name the company or say in which countries investigators — joined by competition authorities of each member state affected — had conducted raids.

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Risk of large fines

The commission, the 27-country bloc's powerful antitrust authority, is probing allegations the company violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices.

If the company raided is guilty of antitrust violations, it risks large fines but can be granted immunity if it cooperates with the commission.

Following the death of Austrian founder Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull named a board of three directors to lead the energy drink giant in November.

Mateschitz, who made the energy drink a global phenomenon and forged a title-winning Formula One team and a sports empire, died in October aged 78.

His son, Mark Mateschitz, now owns Distribution and Marketing GmbH, which holds 49% of Red Bull shares. The Thai Yoovidhya family holds the rest. The company is based in Fuschl am See in western Austria.

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