The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to consent agreements with the nation's largest sellers of fast-turnaround verbatim news transcripts, Reuters America, Inc., and Federal News Service Group, Inc. (FNS) and FNS' president, Cortes W. Randell, settling charges that they entered into agreements that ended competition between them. The Commission's action makes the consent order provisions binding on the respondents.
Reuters America is based in New York City, and FNS is based in Washington, D.C. Under the final order with FNS and Randell, they are prohibited from:
- agreeing, or attempting to enter into an agreement, to allocate customers or divide markets with providers of news transcripts;
- entering into, continuing or renewing any agreement that prevents Reuters America from competing with FNS and Randell in the production, marketing or sale of news transcripts;
- renewing their news transcript supply agreement with Reuters America for five years; and
- agreeing, or attempting to enter into agreements, with competitors or purchasers of their transcripts to fix or maintain resale prices for the transcripts.
The order against Reuters America contains provisions similar to those in the FNS order.
The consent agreements were announced for a public-comment period on Sept. 22, 1995. The Commission votes to issue them in final form occurred on Dec. 18, and were 5-0.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
A news release summarizing the complaints and consent agreements was issued at the time the Commission accepted the consent agreements for public comment. Copies of that release and of the complaints and final orders are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov.
(FTC File No. 941 0015)
(Docket Nos.: Reuters -- C-3632; FNS/Randell--C-3631)