EU set to accept Apple’s ebook case proposals

EU regulators are set to accept an offer by Apple and four book publishers to end an antitrust investigation and avoid fines, according to sources.

EU set to accept Apple's ebook case proposals

The proposal by Apple and the publishers would allow retailers such as Amazon to sell books more cheaply than Apple, which was previously impossible due to contracts that sparked the EU investigation.

Apple, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette and Macmillan made the proposal to the European Commission in September and the offer has been under scrutiny ever since.

The Commission, which in September asked for feedback from rivals and consumers regarding the proposal, hasn’t asked for further concessions, said one of sources, paving the way for an end to the case.

“The Commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month,” the person said.

The deal follows an EU antitrust authority investigation into the companies’ e-book pricing model, which critics say prevented retailers from undercutting Apple due to an “agency model”, where the publishers themselves set the prices.

Under the agreement, Apple was granted “most favoured nation” status by several publishers, ensuring the iBooks store was always offered the lowest price.

Pearson’s Penguin group, which is also under investigation, did not take part in the offer.

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