Monopoly's makers accused of price fix

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The Independent Online

The company that produces the Monopoly boardgame is being investigated for alleged price fixing in Britain.

The Office of Fair Trading confirmed yesterday that Hasbro, one of the biggest games manufacturers in the world, has been the subject of a two-month investigation into claims that it insisted on, rather than recommended, the price at which its toys were sold.

The US-based company makes Action Man, Mr Potato Head and Tonka toys as well as boardgames such as Scrabble.

A spokesman for the Office of Fair Trading said: "We are conducting an investigation into allegations about resale price maintenance on children's toys."

The inquiry is into whether Hasbro has breached the Competition Act 1998, and if found guilty it could be fined up to 10 per cent of its British turnover.

In Ireland, where Hasbro employs more than 600 people at five factories, turning out board games in 26 languages, a new version of Monopoly was recently launched, featuring euros instead of pounds.

It will be sold throughout the European Union, while the old pound version will be sold up to Christmas, and is expected to become a collectors' item.

Hasbro is also expected to make a fortune from a boardgame version of the BBC quiz, The Weakest Link.

Hasbro Inc started as a family-owned business 75 years ago, and now employs 10,000 people worldwide.