NEW YORK, April 29 Publishing house Macmillan
moved on Friday to settle a raft of antitrust suits accusing it
of conspiring with other publishers to raise e-book prices,
hammering out a $26 million settlement with a group of states
and individuals, court filings show.
The agreement requires Macmillan to pay not only a $20
million fine, but legal fees and a small award as well to the
individual plaintiffs for their participation.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ordered government to file a
motion of preliminary approval by May 24, a step toward
completing the settlement, after the sides told her in a letter
on Thursday that they had hammered out the terms of a deal.
"We are extremely pleased in resolving the claims of class
members across the country in the e-book litigation and we think
it was an extremely good result," said Jeff Friedman, a partner
at Hagens Berman in San Francisco, who worked on the settlement
on behalf of the plaintiffs.
"We also appreciated working very closely in the settlement
with the state attorneys general in the action."
A lawyer for MacMillan declined to comment.
Macmillan is a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck
GmbH, based in Germany. It announced in February that its plans
to settle antitrust suits by the U.S. Justice Department and the
class of plaintiffs.
Four of the five publishers named in the suits, including
Pearson Plc's Penguin Group, News Corp's
HarperCollins Publishers Inc and CBS Corp-owned Simon &
Schuster Inc, have now settled.
The settlement with the government requires Macmillan to
lift restrictions on discounting by e-book retailers and report
to the Justice Department its communication with other
Apple is the only remaining defendant in the
Justice Department's lawsuit, which was filed in April 2012 in
U.S. District Court in New York.
The class action case is In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust
Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York,