The Justice Department scheduled an announcement for noon (1600 GMT) on a “significant antitrust matter,” according to a statement, which had no details.
According to the report, the lawsuit alleges Apple and the major book publishers reached an agreement where retail price competition would cease, retail e-book prices would increase significantly and Apple would be guaranteed a 30 percent commission on each e-book sold.
The daily said a settlement involving some of the publishers is expected to be filed Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Prior to the introduction of Apple’s iPad in April 2010, online retail giant Amazon, maker of the Kindle e-book reader, sold electronic versions of many new best sellers for $9.99.
But Apple forced a change in pricing for e-books when the iPad emerged as a rival e-book reading platform, moving publishers to a so-called “agency model” which calls for them to set book prices and for Apple to take a 30 percent cut.
European antitrust officials announced in December they were conducting a probe into Apple and the five publishers to determine whether they had struck illegal deals to fix the prices of e-books in Europe.
But Apple has received support from the Authors Guild, which contends that Apple helped boost competition against Amazon, which had dominated the market previously.
The five publishers believed to be under investigation were CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Pearson’s Penguin Group (USA); Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, and HarperCollins, a unit of News Corp., which owns The Wall Street Journal.