News Corp. subsidiary News America Marketing has agreed to pay rival Valassis Communications Inc. $500 million to settle antitrust charges.
Valassis, a marketing company that provides direct mail and coupons, said the deal settles lawsuits it filed in several states against News America Marketing. Among them is a jury decision in Michigan circuit court last July that awarded Valassis $300 million in damages. News America was appealing that ruling.
Valassis accused News America of threatening customers with price hikes for not offering exclusivity in marketing deals.
Meanwhile, News America argued that Valassis tried to force higher marketing rates by publicly announcing price changes.
In a statement Saturday, News Corp. said it did not want to risk presenting the case to a jury in Michigan federal court, where it was scheduled for trial Tuesday. Citing unspecified concerns over the venue in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said News Corp. decided "it was in the best interests of the company and its stockholders to agree to a settlement."
Valassis said the deal also includes a 10-year shared mail distribution agreement with News America.
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