Apple (AAPL) shares were slightly higher Friday, rising 0.47% to $458.83 despite news of its proposed punishment in their e-book price fixing scandal.
A federal court ruled in July that Apple and five e-book publishers had conspired to raise the prices of their books. The U.S. Department of Justice brought a civil antitrust suit against the Cupertino-based company in 2012.
This morning, the DOJ and 33 U.S. State Attorneys General proposed several potential punishments. In one, Apple would receive a five-year ban from entering into new e-book distribution contracts. Under another proposal, Apple's competitors Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble would be permitted to provide links to their own e-book stores such that Apple users could easily compare Apple's prices to its competitors'. The DOJ also suggested that Apple be required to pay for an external monitor to ensure that the company complied with whatever punishment is meted out.
The court will hear these proposals on August 9. However, Apple has already said that it will appeal the decision. The five companies accused of colluding with Apple--CBS's Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin's Penguin Group, Macmillan, and News Corp's HarperCollins--settled out of court.
Shares of Cablevision (CVC) rose 4.19% to $19.42 following a suggestion by the CEO that the company is not averse to a merger. Media chatter about a potential merger appears to derive from a remark CEO Jim Dolan made in response to a question from Merrill Lynch's Jessica Cohen. He told her regarding potential industry mergers, "I think our plans are to continue to proceed in terms of operating the company and the best interest of the company...Meanwhile, I know all the noise about that, and you never say never. But other than that we really don't have much to say about it." CNBC's David Faber noted that these seemingly innocuous remarks indicated that the company was more amenable to a merger than it has been in the past. In its earnings release on Friday, Cablevision reported it lost 20,000 customers in the quarter, 4,700 more than analysts had expected. Revenues rose 1% to $1.57 billion, just missing the $1.58 billion estimated by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Closing prices: LNKD jumped 10.6% to $235.58, VCLK plummeted 15.9% to $21.37, DELL rose 5.6% to $13.68, AAPL was 1.3% higher at $462.54 and CVC ended the day at $19.61, up 5.2%. --Written by Laura Berman in New York
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