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MacMillan Agrees to $20 Million E-Book Prices Settlement

Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s MacMillan unit will pay $20 million in an accord with consumers to settle claims it conspired with Apple Inc. and other U.S. publishers to fix the prices of electronic books.

The agreement resolves both a lawsuit by U.S. states and a consumer class-action lawsuit, according to an April 25 letter the Texas attorney general sent to U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote in Manhattan. MacMillan will also pay $3 million in legal costs to the states that sued and $2.5 million to the lawyers for the consumers in the class-action case, according to the letter.

The settlement follows a February agreement MacMillan reached with the Justice Department to resolve antitrust allegations. Other U.S. publishers already reached settlements with both the Justice Department and with the states. Apple is still defending the allegations.

The Justice Department and the other states led by Texas alleged publishers conspired with Apple in 2010 to undermine discounter Inc.’s dominance in the e-books market. MacMillan didn’t admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, according to the filing.

Representatives of New York-based MacMillan didn’t immediately respond after regular business hours to an e-mailed request seeking comment on the settlement.

The case is In re Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation, 11-md-02293, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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