DOJ may sue Apple over ebooks early as Wednesday: sources

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:59pm EDT

An Apple Store employee sells Apple's new iPad to a customer at the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York, March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

An Apple Store employee sells Apple's new iPad to a customer at the 5th Avenue Apple Store in New York, March 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The Justice Department could sue Apple Inc as early as Wednesday over alleged electronic book price-fixing, while settling with several publishers as early as this week, two people familiar with the matter said.

The Justice Department is investigating alleged price-fixing by Apple and five major publishers: CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, HarperCollins Publishers Inc, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, Pearson and Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH.

A lawsuit against Apple, one of the parties not in negotiations with the Justice Department for a potential settlement, could come as early as Wednesday but no final decision has been made, the people said.

Apple declined to comment. The Justice Department and the five publishers could not be reached for comment.

(Reporting By Diane Bartz and Poornima Gupta; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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