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Penguin settles iBooks price fixing lawsuit for $75 million

Penguin Group today agreed to a US$75 million settlement deal with the US State Attorneys General and a group of private plaintiffs. The settlement stems from allegations that Penguin, along with four other publishing houses, colluded with Apple to raise the price of e-books on Apple's iBookstore.

Attorney General George Jepsen today announced that Penguin Group (USA) Inc. has entered into a settlement agreement to resolve claims asserted by Connecticut and 32 other states and territories in a lawsuit alleging price-fixing and collusion in the market for electronic books, or eBooks.

Since allegations of price fixing were first levied in April 2012, all five of the accused publishing houses have reached settlement agreements with the government, cumulatively agreeing to pay $164 million in damages to affected consumers nationwide.

"Consumers are entitled to a fair, open and competitive marketplace," Connecticut Attorney General Jepsen said in a press release. "This agreement is yet another step toward providing restitution to those consumers who were harmed by alleged price-fixing within the e-book market and will further ensure that, going forward, consumers benefit from fair competition in the sale of e-books."

Apple, of course, vehemently denies that there was any attempt to fix the price of e-books. A trial on the matter is slated to begin on June 3 and Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to testify.

Recently, the Justice Department released evidence which it claims supports the notion that Apple was a "ringmaster" in a price-fixing conspiracy.

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