Major Settlement with EU Expected on eBook Scandal

As early as today, the European Union may accept a proposed settlement relating to a lingering antitrust probe that is based on the accusation that Apple, Simon & Schuster, News Corp. unit HarperCollins, and other publishing parties tried to fix eBook prices to retain a competitive edge.

European Union regulators “are to accept an offer by Apple and four publishers to end an antitrust probe into their e-book prices,” sources tells Reuters this morning,

Apple and the publishers have offered to let retailers set their own prices or discounts for a period of two years, and also to suspend “most-favored nation” contracts for five years, the sources said. Such clauses bar publishers from making deals with rival retailers to sell e-books more cheaply than Apple.

“The Commission is likely to accept the offer and announce its decision next month,” the source says.

For now, the involved publishers and representatives for the EU will not publicly comment on the rumor today.