Originally published: March 12, 2012
Last updated: March 12, 2012 - 3:33pm
European Union regulators are open to a settlement with e-book publishers owned by Lagardere, News Corp and three other firms if they offer concessions to resolve competition concerns, the EU's antitrust chief said.
Since last December, the European Commission has been investigating whether the publishers fixed prices with Apple for electronic books, an action that might have blocked rivals such as Amazon and hurt consumers. Lagardere's Hachette Livre unit and News Corp's Harper Collins are being investigated. The other three publishers are CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster, Pearson's Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany. "This possibility of a settlement is only open in the case the publishers will be ready to remove all our objections," said European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia. He said EU regulators were co-coordinating with U.S. counterparts, which are also looking into such pricing deals under an agency model adopted in 2010 in which publishers set the retail price.
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