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File | Associated Press

Indiana settles e-book price-fixing case with Penguin Group

Statement as issued Friday by the state attorney general:

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller today announced the resolution of a multistate antitrust investigation against another major U.S. book publisher for price-fixing and collusion in the electronic book (E-book) market.

Indiana, along with the other states, reached an agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. to settle allegations that Penguin colluded with other major publishers and Apple Inc. to manipulate prices in the E-book market.

“If approved, this agreement means Indiana’s consumers who purchased E-books published by Penguin Group will receive $1.15 million in total refunds via their E-book accounts,” Zoeller said. “Consumers also stand to benefit from restored competitiveness within the E-book marketplace.”

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 retailers greater freedom to reduce the prices of their E-book titles

Consumers nationwide – including those represented by the attorneys general of the 33 states and territories and those represented by private counsel in a related class action – will receive $75 million in compensation.

Indiana 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. Zoeller said together these five settlements will result in Indiana consumers receiving $2.7 million in refunds and $164 million for consumers nationwide.

Indiana’s antitrust action based on the same allegations against Apple Inc. remains pending with trial scheduled in June 2013.

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