The Colorado Attorney General’s Office announced the resolution of a multistate, antitrust litigation against a major U.S. book publisher for price-fixing and collusion in the electronic book (E-book) market. Colorado has reached an agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. to settle the state’s allegations that Penguin colluded with other major publishers and Apple Inc. to manipulate prices in the E-book market.
The agreement with Penguin must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. When finalized, the agreement with Penguin will grant E-book outlets greater freedom to reduce the prices of their E-book titles. Consumers nationwide – including those represented by the attorneys general and those represented by private counsel in a related class action – will receive $75 million in compensation.
Colorado has previously settled with four other publishers: Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Simon & Schuster Inc., and Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan for allegations relating to the same conduct. The settlement with Penguin will bring the total restitution available to E-Book consumers of these five publishers to $164 million. The parties will submit a distribution plan for court approval and restitution will be given to consumers.
Colorado’s antitrust action based on the same allegations against Apple Inc. remains pending with trial scheduled in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in June 2013.
Attorneys general from the following states and territories comprised the multistate settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.