Case Reference: CE/9440-11
Update - 6 December 2011
The OFT has decided to close its investigation into whether arrangements
that certain publishers have put in place with some retailers for the
sale of e-books may breach competition rules. This decision has been
taken on the grounds of the OFT's administrative priorities, in
particular because the OFT believes, following discussions with the
European Commission, that the European Commission is currently well
placed to arrive at a comprehensive resolution of this matter and will
do so as a matter of priority.
The OFT will continue to cooperate closely with the European Commission
on this matter to help secure the best outcome for UK consumers.
The OFT may reconsider its decision, in consultation with the European
Commission, in the future if it has reasonable grounds to suspect that
there is an infringement of competition law, which may have an impact on
The OFT has not reached any view as to whether or not the parties
involved have infringed competition law.
Update - 2 March 2011
The OFT is fully aware of the European Commission's investigation into
the sale of e-books. Both agencies are co-operating very closely to
avoid any duplication between the two investigations.
Summary of work
Following a significant number of complaints, the OFT has opened an
investigation into whether arrangements that certain publishers have put
in place with some retailers for the sale of e-books may breach
The investigation is at an early stage and it should not be assumed
that the parties involved have breached competition law.
The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct
that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK. The Chapter I
prohibition covers anti-competitive agreements and concerted practices
that have the object or effect of preventing, restricting or distorting
competition in the UK or a part of it and which may affect trade in the
UK or a part of it. Its European counterpart, Article 101 of the TFEU,
covers equivalent agreements or practices which may affect trade between
EU Member States.
Published 1 December 2011