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Document 52013XX1224(02)

Final report of the Hearing Officer — E-BOOKS (Penguin) (COMP/39.847)

OJ C 378, 24.12.2013, p. 23–24 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, HR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)



Official Journal of the European Union

C 378/23

Final report of the Hearing Officer (1)

E-BOOKS (Penguin)


2013/C 378/13


This proceeding concerns certain allegedly concerted practices in relation to the sale of e-books to consumers.


On 12 December 2012, the Commission adopted a decision pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 (2) addressed to four publishers (Hachette, Harper Collins, Holtzbrinck/Macmillan, Simon & Schuster) (3) as well as Apple in relation to the sale of e-books to consumers. The decision made binding commitments offered by the four publishers and Apple and closed proceedings as far as they were concerned (4).


Since Pearson, the parent company of the Penguin group (5), did not offer any commitments, the Commission, carried on investigating Pearson's conduct and its compatibility with Article 101 of the TFEU and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement.


On 16 April 2013 Penguin, the seller of trade e-books within the Pearson group, submitted commitments to the Commission in response to the concerns expressed in the preliminary assessment of 1 March 2013 (6).


On 19 April 2013, a notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union pursuant to Article 27(4) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, summarising the case and the commitments and inviting interested third parties to submit their observations on commitments within one month following publication (7). No relevant observations have been received. The Commission considered therefore, as for the first part of these proceedings against four publishers and Apple, that the commitments were adequate to address the competition concerns.


In its decision pursuant to Article 9(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003, the Commission makes the commitments offered by Penguin binding upon it and concludes that in light of the commitments offered, there are no longer grounds for action on its part, and thus the proceedings in this case should be brought to an end.


I did not receive any request or complaint from any party to this second part of the proceedings (8). In view thereof, I consider that the effective exercise of the procedural rights of all parties in this case has been respected.

Brussels, 28 June 2013.

Michael ALBERS

(1)  Pursuant to Articles 16 and 17 of Decision 2011/695/EU of the President of the European Commission of 13 October 2011 on the function and terms of reference of the hearing officer in certain competition proceedings (OJ L 275, 20.10.2011, p. 29).

(2)  Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty (OJ L 1, 4.1.2003, p. 1).

(3)  Hachette Livre SA, HarperCollins Publishers, L.L.C. and HarperCollins Publishers Limited, Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co. KG and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, Simon & Schuster, Inc. Simon & Schuster (UK) Ltd and Simon & Schuster Digital Sales, Inc.

(4)  Commission Decision of 12 December 2012 published under document C(2012) 9288 available at: See also Final report of the Hearing Officer, OJ C 73, 13.3.2013, p. 15, available at:

(5)  Penguin Publishing Company Limited, The Penguin Group, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Dorling Kindersley Holdings Limited, their successors and assigns and each of their respective subsidiaries, divisions, groups and partnerships, hereinafter ‘Penguin’.

(6)  The commitments offered by Penguin are available at:

(7)  Communication of the Commission published pursuant to Article 27(4) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 in Case COMP/39.847/E-BOOKS (OJ C 112, 19.4.2013, p. 9).

(8)  In accordance to Article 15(1) of Decision 2011/695/EU, parties to the proceedings offering commitments pursuant to Article 9 of Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 may call upon the hearing officer at any stage of the procedure in order to ensure the effective exercise of their procedural rights.