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2 Biggest Chains OK Antitrust Settlement

April 20, 2001|Bloomberg News

Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. agreed to pay $2.35 million each to settle an antitrust suit accusing them of getting illegal discounts from publishers and wholesalers. The American Booksellers Assn. and 26 bookstore owners sued the two largest U.S. book chains in March 1998, saying the independent dealers did not get discounts available to larger competitors. The chains said the independents had failed to attract customers, defending the discounts as legal. An analyst said the settlement eliminated legal ambiguity for the chains. In the settlement, which came after six days of trial in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the independents promised not to file a similar lawsuit for three years, Barnes & Noble said. Barnes & Noble shares rose 76 cents to close at $30.91, and Borders Group rose 40 cents to close at $18, both on the NYSE.

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