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European Union, U.S. Coordinate On E-Book Pricing Cases

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As regulators on both sides of the Atlantic investigate publishers and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) for allegedly colluding to fix the price of e-books, the two sides are coordinating on the cases and the EU is open to a settlement.

The European Union is investigating the UK divisions of the same publishers under investigation in the U.S.: Simon & Schuster (NYSE: CBS), Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins and Macmillan. Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice threatened to sue those five publishers and Apple for allegedly conspiring to fix e-book prices.

EU regulators raided some publishers last year and began a formal investigation in December.

“We are worried about the development of practices that do not exist for physical books, such as collusion between publishers on prices,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement. “We are ready to explore a settlement if there is a possibility, but only if all our objections are eliminated.”

“Under the Commission’s settlement procedures, companies could offer concessions to avert a fine of up to 10 percent of their global sales. Regulators would then drop their investigation without the companies admitting to any wrongdoing,” Reuters (NYSE: TRI) reports.