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Apple, two publishers hold out against settlement: report

(Reuters) - Apple Inc and publishers Pearson and Macmillan are reluctant to agree to terms sought by U.S. and European antitrust authorities investigating possible electronic-book price-fixing, the Wall Street Journal cited sources as saying on Wednesday.

Apple and some of the world's biggest book publishers are suspected of colluding to push up e-book prices and are under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission. Reuters reported on March 30 that the U.S. Justice Department could reach a settlement in the case in the next few weeks.

The Journal, citing sources, reported that CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc, HarperCollins Publishers Inc and Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group are inclined to settle. But Apple, Pearson and Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, are unwilling to, according to the report.

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to unravel agreements Apple secured from five publishers about two years ago as the Silicon Valley company was launching its iPad and was seeking to break up Amazon's dominance in the digital book market.

Officials with the Justice Department declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

(Reporting By Liana B. Baker; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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