Apple’s $450 Million Price-Fixing Settlement Gets Preliminary OK

Photo (cc) by alui0000

Apple may end up forking over $450 million to settle claims that it conspired with a handful of publishers to increase prices on electronic books.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has won preliminary court approval for the $450 million settlement. U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan said there’s “probable cause to find that the proposed settlement agreement is within the range of those that may be approved as fair and reasonable.”

The settlement faces another hurdle: Apple appealed the case. If a federal appeals court concurs with Cote that Apple violated U.S. antitrust laws, then the $450 million settlement, $400 million for consumers and $50 million for attorneys’ fees, stands. If Apple wins the appeal, it will pay nothing, Bloomberg said.

If the case is sent back to Cote for a retrial, the agreement says that Apple has to pay $50 million plus an additional $20 million in attorneys’ fees.

The settlement stems from “related class-action litigation brought on behalf of consumers and 33 U.S. states,” Reuters says.

“States and consumers have recovered $166 million from settlements with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster Inc., Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group and the Macmillan unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH,” Bloomberg said.

Eligible consumers will have until Oct. 31 to opt out or object to the Apple settlement, CNET said. A final hearing on the settlement has been set for Nov. 21.

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