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Penguin promises EU regulator to scrap Apple ebook deals

A man reads the bible from an iPad mini at the "Christ is the Answer International Ministries" group's camp near Florence February 2, 2013.
A man reads the bible from an iPad mini at the "Christ is the Answer International Ministries" group's camp near Florence February 2, 2013.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators accepted on Thursday a pledge by British media group Pearson's Penguin unit to scrap its ebook deals with Apple which set price curbs on Amazon and other retailers, closing an antitrust case against the company.

Penguin offered in April to end "most-favored nation" contracts for five years. Such clauses bar rival retailers from selling e-books more cheaply than Apple.

It also proposed to let retailers set prices or discounts for a period of two years. The concessions are similar to those offered by four other publishers last year.

The European Commission said the publishers' offer would boost the e-book market.

"After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by John O'Donnell)

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