FTC consents to consider request from Naver, Daum

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FTC consents to consider request from Naver, Daum

The Fair Trade Commission yesterday accepted a request by the country’s two biggest Internet portals to review self-corrective measures regarding their unfair business practices involving abuse of their market dominance.

A denial of the request, made earlier this month, would have meant imminent penalties on Naver and Daum Communications of an expected tens of billions of won each.

Instead, the FTC decided in a plenary meeting to enter a consent decree process, in which each of the two companies must come up with self-corrective measures within a month.

The consent decree, or consent order, is a fast track system in which a company subject to an antitrust investigation can proceed with developing self-corrective measures. Naver and Daum applied for the system last week.

It is the first time the FTC has used the system since it was introduced in November 2011.

In May, the FTC launched an investigation into whether the two portals violated antitrust law. Naver has 75 percent of the portal market, while Daum accounts for 20 percent.

It is the second time the FTC has taken issue with Naver’s market dominance. In 2008, the commission ordered the company to come up with corrective measures, while handing down 227 million won in fines. Naver filed a suit with the Seoul High Court to repeal the FTC decision, and the court agreed.

The FTC appealed the decision and the case is now pending at the Supreme Court.

The portals have already announced some self-corrective measures focusing on separation of search and advertising businesses, which both companies implemented last month.

BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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