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Valassis Settles FTC Allegation Over FSI Competition

Valassis Communications Inc., Livonia, MI, settled allegations that it engaged in anti-competitive conduct in the freestanding newspaper insert market, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

The commission's complaint claimed Valassis violated Section 5 of the FTC Act prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices by inviting its competitor in the FSI market, News America Marketing, to collude with it to fix FSI prices. Valassis revealed the proposal in a July 2004 earnings conference call, the complaint said.

The consent agreement settling the matter prohibits Valassis from price fixing and other anti-competitive practices including colluding with competitors.

Valassis addressed the settlement in an 8K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. It said in part, “Under the terms of the settlement, Valassis did not admit any wrongdoing and is not required to pay any fines or penalties. The allegations were limited to the remarks made on the second quarter earnings conference call and there were no allegations regarding any conduct or effect beyond the remarks themselves. The settlement, upon finalization, relieves Valassis of the substantial expense, time and resources of continuing this proceeding.”

The agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period before it may be finalized.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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