Kate Holton and Nate Raymond of Reuters/from Chicago Tribune | http://trib.in/Z0emRp
11:43 a.m. CDT, May 22, 2013 :: LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - British publisher Pearson's Penguin unit said on Wednesday it would pay $75 million in damages plus costs to U.S. 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 $40 million in 2012, had already reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in the e-book pricing case.
The latest deal resolves claims by the attorneys general 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 U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York.
"This proposed settlement is a powerful demonstration of what is possible when federal, state and private class antitrust enforcement lawyers work together," said Steve Berman, a lawyer for the plaintiffs at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro.
The Justice Department last year accused Apple and five publishers of colluding on prices as part of an effort to fight online retailer Amazon.com Inc's dominance of the e-book market. Apple has not settled and is scheduled to face the U.S. Justice Department in a trial which is scheduled to start on June 3.
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 that it did not believe it had done anything wrong with its e-book pricing but had agreed to settle so that it could move ahead with the merger of Penguin with Random House, which it announced last October.
The case is In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-02293.
smf: This is made complicated/confused/interesting by the unconfirmed rumor that Pearson is the sole software, content and program vendor (ie: e-textbooks) in the LAUSD Common Core Technology Initiative (aka: Tablets for All).
(There is (correctly) a Cone of Silence around the contract bidding+award process; the cone may be leaky.)
If the information is correct there are multiple hardware platforms (tablets/laptops/i-Pads, etc.- including Apple) but only one content/media provider.
Marshall McLuhan said that ”The medium is the message”. The platform is only the messenger.