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May 22, 2013

Miller & State Attorneys General Reach Agreement with Penguin Group Inc. to Resolve E-Book Price-Fixing Allegations

Iowa consumers to receive $1.5 million through this and four other e-book antitrust settlements; suit with Apple still pending

(DES MOINES, Iowa)  Attorney General Tom Miller today reached an agreement with a major U.S. book publisher to settle allegations that the company colluded with other major publishers and Apple Inc. to manipulate prices in the electronic book, or e-book market.

The announcement resolves a multistate antitrust investigation against Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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 in Iowa and others represented by attorneys general of 33 states and territories, and those represented by private counsel in a related class action – will receive $75 million in compensation.

Miller and state attorneys general 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.  Consumers nationwide will receive $164 million in compensation as a result of all five settlements.  Iowa consumers will receive slightly under $1.5 million.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, which the court must approve, Penguin will notify and compensate consumers who purchased its e-books during the period of April 1, 2010, through May 21, 2012.  Penguin will begin mailing payments 30 days after the court approves and finalizes the settlement.

This antitrust action is based on the same allegations against Apple Inc., which remains pending.  That trial is currently scheduled for June.


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