Hello Kitty’s Parent Company Fined by EU

The European Commission fined the owner of the Hello Kitty brand for restricting manufacturer's sales rights.

Hello Kitty’s parent company, Sanrio, was fined $6.9 million by the European Commission for illegally restricting where manufacturers could sell their toys and other products, according to The New York Times. Hello Kitty has products in 130 countries and sales of nearly $8 billion. Their parent company has a number of other products that also generate large revenue.

The fine came because Sanrio’s restrictions of their manufacturers led to less choice and higher prices for consumers.

Margrethe Vestager, the Eurpoean Union’s competition commissioner, said in a statement, “Traders who sell licensed products cannot be prevented from selling products in a different country.”

Hello Kitty, that debuted in 1974, is now on 50,000 different products and appears next to many other Sanrio characters. The fine was announced on Tuesday after European regulators finished conducting a two year investigation into the matter.

Sanrio had been barring businesses for the past 11 years from selling the merchandise outside of their home country even after they had purchased the rights to sell wherever. Sanrio also restricted the languages used on the boxes.

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