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Netflix Users May Get Payout from Wal-Mart in Class-Action Case

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) subscribers have taken to the Internet regarding an e-mail that was sent last night from regarding a class-action suit between the movie rental giant and Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report).

According to the e-mail, Wal-Mart has reached a proposed settlement in the ongoing class-action suit. If approved by a judge in March, Netflix subscribers who were paying customers between May 19, 2005 and Sept. 2, 2011 will divide $27.5 million among them in the form of a Wal-Mart gift card. To be included in the settlement, Netflix customers must file a claim before Feb. 14, 2012.

The class-action suit came about in response to a dinner meeting in 2005, at which the CEOs of Netflix and Wal-Mart allegedly agreed to share the DVD market. According to consumer advocates, under the pact Wal-Mart agreed not to rent DVDs if Netflix promised not to sell them. Class-action suits were filed against both companies in 2009, claiming that the agreement violated antitrust laws.

Netflix won't settle the suit, the e-mail said, and will go to trial in January. The company previously told TheStreet that the case has "no merit" and it will go to trial.

Netflix has accused Wal-Mart of using the suit to lure its subscribers to Wal-Mart's Vudu movie service.

Netflix and Wal-Mart didn't return requests for comment.

- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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