The company alleges (PDF) that the nine companies engage in “unlawful per se horizontal market division, customer allocation, and price fixing agreements” with its competitors in the market for bank rate websites throughout the United States.
The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and accuses the firms of entering into “a conspiracy in restraint of trade and forming a cartel” with their competitor Bankrate.com together with approximately a hundred competing bank rate website operators including some of the largest media conglomerates in the United States.
The complaint estimates that the damages caused by the “price-fixing cartel” may exceed $500 million, to be trebled under the antitrust statute.
BanxCorp, which operates competing bank rate website BanxQuote.com, indicated that other members of the ‘cartel’ may also be joined.
Currently included: Dow Jones & Company and Fox News Network (both News Corp.-owned), The New York Times Company, CNBC, Cable News Network, MSNBC Interactive New, AOL, LendingTree and Move.
Bankrate is a leading publisher, aggregator and distributor of personal finance content on the Internet. Bankrate provides consumers with proprietary, fully researched, comprehensive, independent and objective personal finance editorial content across multiple vertical categories including mortgages, deposits, insurance, credit cards, and other categories, such as retirement, automobile loans, and taxes. The Bankrate network includes Bankrate.com, its flagship website, and other owned and operated personal finance websites, including CreditCards.com, Interest.com, Bankaholic.com, Mortgage-calc.com, CreditCardGuide.com, Nationwide Card Services, InsuranceQuotes.com, CarInsuranceQuotes.com, InsureMe, Bankrate.com.cn,...