Penguin settles for $75 million with DoJ in e-book price fixing suit

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Penguin, one of the five named publishers in the Apple e-book price fixing suit, has reached a comprehensive agreement with the United States State Attorneys General and private class plaintiffs to pay a cool $75 million in consumer damages, in addition to costs and fees related to resolving all antitrust claims relating to the e-book price fixing suit…

Penguin back in December reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) in the e-book pricing case, along with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster. The latest deal settles the case with individual states in the country.

Last month, the publisher struck a deal with the European Commission to terminate its agency agreements with Apple.

According to a media release, Penguin has also committed to the State Attorneys General to “abide by the same injunctive relief as previously agreed in a separate settlement with the Department of Justice.”

Penguin’s parent company Pearson has already made a $40 million for settlement in its 2012 accounts. That incremental charge will be expensed in Pearson’s 2013 statutory accounts as part of the accounting for the Penguin Random House joint-venture.

The Attorney General in its own statement notes that settlements by publishers has resulted in the $164 million payouts so far. Attorney General Jepsen says the Penguin deal marks another step toward “providing restitution to those consumers who were harmed by alleged price-fixing within the e-book market and will further ensure that, going forward, consumers benefit from fair competition in the sale of e-books.”

As a reminder, the DoJ filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple last year for allegedly conspiring with major book publishers to raise e-book prices. A recent DoJ filing called Apple out for facilitating the price fixing, followed up by a potentially damning email from Steve Jobs which allegedly proves Apple’s guilt in e-book scandal.

Apple is now a lone holdout in the suit as the DoJ seeks to “continue to litigate against Apple for conspiring with Macmillan and four of the other largest U.S. book publishers to raise e-book prices to consumers”.

The iPhone maker and the government are scheduled to duke it out in the court in June 2013.