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Brussels looks set to OK Apple e-book collusion deal, sources say

Alleged price caper put to bed after Amazon reads a story

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Brussels officials have reportedly indicated that a settlement deal proposed by Apple and four of the publishers in Europe's competition probe into ebooks price-fixing with be accepted by the Commission.

According to Reuters, which cites two unnamed sources, an offer from Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, the Hachette Book Group and Apple to kill off their agency model in Europe and allow retailers to set any price they want for ebooks is expected to be given the go ahead by the EC in December.

It's understood such a settlement would hold good until late 2014.

The offer was tabled by the companies in August and was revealed by the commission in September at which point antitrust regulators asked Amazon and others to give their views on the proposal.

Sources said that the commission has not requested any further concessions from Apple and the four publishers.

The companies disputed the EC's finding earlier this year that they had acted against the public interest, after Apple agreed with publishers to move away from wholesale pricing in favour of the legitimate agency model practice that allows the retail price to be set by the publishers - which in turn passes on a percentage cut to the retailer. ®

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