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Vermont Attorney General Reaches Agreement with Penguin Group Inc. to Resolve E-Book Price-Fixing Allegations

CONTACT: Jill Abrams, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5479

May 22, 2013

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell today announced the resolution of a multistate antitrust investigation against major U.S. book publisher Penguin Group (USA) Inc. for price-fixing and collusion in the electronic book (E-book) market. Vermont 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.

“We are pleased that our continuing effort to combat E-books price-fixing has resulted in this settlement which will provide compensation to consumers who overpaid for their E-books,” said Attorney General Sorrell.

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 Vermont Attorney General’s office, the attorneys general of 32 other states and territories, and those represented by private counsel in a related class action – will receive $75 million in compensation.

Vermont 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. Consumers nationwide will receive $164 million in compensation as a result of the settlements with the five publishers. Vermont’s antitrust action against Apple scheduled for trial in June 2013.

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