European Commission investigate Apple and book publishers over price-fixing claim
The European Commission are investigating e-book publishers owned by Lagardere, Pearson Plc, News Corp. and two other firms after the suspected they may have colluded with Apple to block rivals via their pricing deals.
Antitrust rules forbid price-fixing agreements designed to shut out competitors.
"The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition in the European Union or in the European Economic Area," the EU's executive Commission said in a statement.
"The Commission is also examining the character and terms of the agency agreements entered into by the above named five publishers and retailers for the sale of e-books," it said.
It identified the publishers as French media-to-aerospace group Lagardere's Hachette Livre unit, News Corp's Harper Collins, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster, Pearson's Penguin and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck, which owns Macmillan in Germany.
A Pearson spokesman said the group would work with regulators in the investigation, with a spokesperson noting: "Pearson does not believe it has breached any laws, and will continue to fully and openly cooperate with the Commission."
Apple, however, declined to comment.