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Hachette Livre to 'renegotiate' agency contracts
01.01.70 | Katie Allen
Hachette Livre has said it "remains confident that it did not violate the antitrust laws, and has made no admission of liability" after offering to "renegotiate" its agency contracts in response to a European Commission probe into alleged price-fixing. The new deals will mean Hachette cannot prevent the discounting of its e-books for two years, and cannot enforce a Most Favoured Nation clause for five years.
The EC said today that publishers HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette Livre, and Apple "engaged in a concerted practice" to raise e-book prices or prevent the emergence of lower prices across Europe. The four publishers and Apple contested the EC's findings, despite agreeing to these conditions, with Hachette the first to publicly set out its position.
A statement read: "Hachette Livre considers that its unilateral decision to enter into agency agreements with Apple and other e-retailers was in the best longer-term interests of the whole book universe including authors, readers and booksellers of all kinds.
"However, Hachette Livre has decided that the costs, length, and distractions of the proceedings before the European Commission would be too disruptive to its business and to the development of e-book markets in general."
"Hachette Livre therefore commits to renegotiate the agency contracts it entered into in European countries in order to grant some level of price flexibility to its agents for a two-year period in countries where national laws so permit, and to ban most-favoured customer clauses for a five-year period."