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EU orders Broadcom to halt exclusivity deals amid antitrust probe

The European Commission ordered Broadcom Inc. to "immediately stop" enforcing its exclusivity deals with set-top box and modem makers, amid an ongoing antitrust investigation into the contracts.

The commission also told the U.S. chipmaker to cease implementing the same exclusivity provisions or any equivalent retaliatory practices in its other deals with suppliers.

The "interim measures" aim to prevent "serious and irreparable damage" to competition for the supply of chipsets for set-top boxes and broadband modems in certain EU markets, the EC said Oct. 16.

"We have strong indications that Broadcom is engaging in anticompetitive practices. We cannot let this happen, or else European customers and consumers would face higher prices and less choice and innovation," said EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

The U.S. chipmaker is expected to comply with the interim measures within 30 days. The measures will be in effect within three years or until a final decision on the matter has been reached, whichever comes first.

The commission began probing Broadcom in June. The company then said it complies with EU antitrust rules, and that the commission's concerns are "without merit."