EU closes Penguin case

EU closes Penguin case

The European Commission has closed its antitrust proceedings against Penguin, accepting its pledges to scrap its e-book deals with Apple as legally binding.

In April, Penguin offered to end the agency model and its "most favoured nation" contracts, which prevented other retailers such as Amazon from selling as cheaply as Apple. It also proposed that retailers could set the price for e-books for a period of two years, in line with concessions made by the other publishers investigated for collusion, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette and Macmillan.

The Commission said the decision would allow the e-book market to become more competitive.

Joaquín Almunia, commission vice-president in charge of competition policy, said: "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books." A statement from the Commission said that if a company were to break the commitments made, the Commission could impose a fine of 10% of the company's annual worldwide turnover.

In the US, a judge decided earlier this month that Apple had conspired to raise the retail price of e-books. The publishers involved in the case had previously settled the claims. Apple plans to appeal against the decision.