The two antitrust complaints made against Amazon by book publishers in Germany turned out to have no merit, but the ongoing EU investigation may have legs.
Reuters reports that Amazon is talking to European Union antitrust regulators about settling a year-long investigation into its ebook deals with publishers without a fine. The move comes as Amazon is also under scrutiny over its tax deal with Luxembourg, which may result in the U.S. online retailer paying millions of euros in back taxes.
“Amazon is in talks to settle the ebook case but it is too early to say whether it will reach an agreement,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Under the EU’s settlement rules, the company would not face any fine or finding of wrongdoing if it can offer concessions to allay regulatory concerns.
European Commission spokesman Ricardo Cardoso declined to comment.
The EU competition watchdog opened an investigation into the case in June last year, saying Amazon’s ebooks contracts with publishers giving it terms as good as those for its rivals may make it difficult for other ebooks distributors to compete.
The focus is on Amazon’s ebooks in English and German. The company is the biggest ebook distributor in Europe, while the market is growing rapidly.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith)
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