Amazon and EU Reach Settlement Over E-Book Contracts

By Natalia Drozdiak Features Dow Jones Newswires

Amazon.com Inc. has reached an agreement with the European Union's antitrust authorities over the EU's probe into its electronic books contracts with publishers.

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The European Commission said Thursday that it had accepted commitments made by Amazon, securing closure for one of the regulator's investigations into the e-commerce company.

The European Commission opened a formal probe into Amazon's e-books business in 2015, citing concerns the tech company imposed illegal terms on publishers that harm purchasers of electronic books. Certain clauses in those contracts may have made it harder for other e-book retailers to compete with Amazon, the EU said.

To allay those concerns, Amazon has committed that it won't enforce--or include in new contracts--clauses that require publishers to inform or offer Amazon similar terms as those offered to rivals, the EU said. Amazon will also allow publishers to terminate contracts that contain specific clauses.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the European Commission," said Amazon spokesman Conor Sweeney.

The commitments apply for five years to all e-books distributed by Amazon in Europe. Amazon could be fined up to 10% of global revenue if it goes back on its pledges.

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Separately, the commission continues to investigate whether Amazon's tax arrangements with Luxembourg gave the company an illegal advantage over competitors.

Write to Natalia Drozdiak at natalia.drozdiak@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 06:49 ET (10:49 GMT)