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The New York Times reports that "Amazon has agreed to a settlement with European Union regulators that will force the company to make significant changes to its business practices but also allows the e-commerce giant to avoid a drawn out legal fight and billions of dollars of potential fines, according to three people with knowledge of the deal.

"The settlement, expected to be announced on Dec. 20, will end two antitrust investigations in Europe. The deal will require Amazon to give makers of rival products equal access to valuable real estate on its website, said the people, who would speak only anonymously before the official announcement. The company will also be barred from using nonpublic information it gathers about independent merchants to inform Amazon’s own product offerings, among other changes.

The story says that the deal "will last five years and applies only to Amazon’s operations in the European Union, though the company could choose to adopt some of the changes outside the region. The deal helps Amazon avoid a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, which was about $470 billion last year."

KC's View:

I'm not an antitrust expert, but I would have to imagine that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be looking at the EU agreement for signs of how far it can push Amazon on making changes here in the US.