As part of an ongoing probe to investigate price-fixing in commissions at several auction houses, the
Department of Justice
has issued a subpoena to
Butterfield & Butterfield
, the San Francisco-based auction house acquired by
in April of last year.
In a filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
Thursday, eBay said the Justice Department subpoenaed documents last week that related to "changes in sellers' commissions and buyers' premiums" and to discussions between Butterfield officials and other auction houses dating back to 1992. eBay also said that the cost of providing documents for the investigation could hurt its future earnings.
reports, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the company cannot comment on the details of the subpoena itself but plans to cooperate fully with authorities.
It is still not clear whether Butterfield is being asked to provide information about two of its chief rivals,
Recent reports claim Sotheby's and Christie's are being investigated by the Justice Department for their mutual failure to charge commission fees to their wealthiest clients. Both auction houses say they are cooperating with prosecutors.