July 16, 2014 —The Utah Attorney General‘s Office announced a proposed settlement today of claims for monetary relief against Apple Inc. related to its participation in a price-fixing conspiracy in the market for E-books. The settlement agreement, which remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, would resolve claims for consumer damages brought by Texas and 32 other states and territories, as well as the states’ civil penalty claims.
Pursuant to the terms of the settlement, the amount to be received by consumers is contingent upon the resolution of Apple’s appeal of the District Court’s July 2013 finding that Apple violated the antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy with five publishers to artificially raise prices for E-books between 2010 and 2012. That appeal is currently pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Consumers nationwide (including those represented by private counsel in a related class action) will receive $400 million if the court’s ruling is ultimately affirmed. If the appellate courts do not affirm the court’s ruling, the settlement provides for a smaller recovery, or no recovery if Apple is ultimately determined not to have violated the antitrust laws.
“We are pleased with this settlement, which, combined with previous publisher settlements, will provide consumers with over twice their actual damages, assuming the liability finding is upheld on appeal,” said Utah Attorney General’s Markets and Financial Fraud Division Director David Sonnenreich. “I am pleased to have worked with Antitrust and Market Frauds Section Chief Ronald Ockey on this case and look forward to the final results from the appeal. Whenever there is evidence of alleged price fixing, we dedicate resources within our office to protect Utah consumers from antitrust violations.”
E-book purchasers nationwide have already received compensation from $166 million in settlement funds paid by the five publishers involved in the conspiracy – Penguin Group (USA), Inc. (now part of Penguin Random House); Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan; Hachette Book Group Inc.; HarperCollins Publishers LLC; and Simon & Schuster Inc.