“Apple and four major publishers have offered to allow retailers such as Amazon to sell e-books at a discount for two years in a bid to end an EU antitrust investigation and stave off possible fines, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday,” Foo Yun Chee reports for Reuters. “The EU antitrust watchdog opened an investigation into Apple’s e-book pricing deals with the publishers last December, saying these may hamper competition in Europe.”

“The four publishers are Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, French group Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany,” Chee reports. “The Commission said [that] in April the five companies had offered concessions in a bid to end the investigation and avert penalties which could reach 10 percent of their global turnover, but it did not give details. Pearson Plc’s Penguin group, which is also being investigated, was not mentioned among those submitting proposals.”

Chee reports, “The Commission was now sounding out opinions from the industry as to whether the concessions are sufficient, the person familiar with the matter said, before a formal market test which could lead to the investigation being dropped… The proposals are similar to the ones reached in a settlement in April of a price-fixing lawsuit brought by the U.S. government against HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, which also had sales deals with Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

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