Penguin Will Reportedly Cut Off eBooks Deal with Apple

Approximately 18 months after an expansive ebook antitrust investigation began, Apple and Penguin are going their separate ways on a previously established ebooks deal.

British media group Pearson’s Penguin unit has offered to scrap e-book deals with Apple that imposed price restrictions on Amazon and other retailers, EU antitrust regulators said on Friday.

Dating back to 2011, Apple and five major book publishers have stood accused of colluding to inflate ebook prices through Apple’s iBookstore. The move was designed to help take some market share away from the industry leader, Amazon.

Book publishers opted to switch to the “agency model” upon the arrival of iBooks for the iPad, allowing publishers to set e-book prices as they see fit, barring distributors from pushing prices lower.

Apple, as well as publishers Simon & Schuster, News Corp unit HarperCollins, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Livre and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, the owner of Germany’s Macmillan, reached a settlement with the Commission late in 2012.

According to a report this morning from Reuters, Penguin’s “concessions” include ending “most-favored nation” contracts for five years. “Such clauses bar rival retailers from selling e-books more cheaply than Apple,” the report reads, adding that retailers will also be able to set prices or discounts for a period of two years.