Canada's competition watchdog settles with HarperCollins

TORONTO (Reuters) - Publisher HarperCollins has agreed to donate C$150,000 ($120,000) in books as part of a settlement with a Canadian law enforcement agency over accusations it colluded with rival publishers and Apple Inc to set prices, the agency said on Tuesday.

The deal ends litigation against HarperCollins, owned by News Corp, after Canada’s Competition Bureau charged that it and other publishers entered into distribution agreements with individual retailers that eliminated retail price competition on ebooks, most notably by pushing up prices that Inc could charge.

The agreement would restore retail price competition for ebooks in Canada, the agency said in a statement.

The Competition Bureau reached similar deals with Apple and the other publishers - Lagardere SCA’s Hachette, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan and CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster - almost a year ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 declined to hear Apple’s challenge to earlier rulings on the practice in the United States, forcing it to pay a $450 million settlement.

HarperCollins could not be reached for comment.

($1 = 1.2456 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Jim Finkle and Rosalba O’Brien