Pearson to pay $75m to settle ebooks case

City A.M. Reporter
PUBLISHER Pearson’s Penguin unit said yesterday it would pay $75m (£49.8m) in damages plus costs to US states and consumers as part of an agreement over alleged price-fixing in the e-book market.

Pearson, which will take an extra provision on its accounts this year after setting aside $40m in 2012, had already reached an agreement with the US Justice Department in the e-book pricing case.

The latest deal resolves claims by the attorney generals of 33 states, as well as with consumers who had filed a class-action lawsuit against the British publisher. The settlement is subject to approval by US District Judge Denise Cote in New York.

The Justice Department last year accused Apple and five publishers of colluding on prices as part of an effort to fight online retailer’s dominance of the e-book market. Apple has not settled and is expected to face the US Justice Department in a trial which is scheduled to start on 3 June.

Penguin said it had also committed to the state attorneys to abide by the terms agreed in the settlement with the Department of Justice. Pearson has previously said it did not believe it had done anything wrong with e-book pricing but had agreed to settle so that it could move ahead with its merger with Random House, announced last October.