Four major tech companies including Apple and Google settled a lawsuit alleging conspiracy to hold down salaries in Silicon Valley.
The companies have agreed to pay $324m (€234m, £193m) to settle the case, Reuters reported citing sources familiar with the deal. Trial in the class action suit on behalf of about 64,000 workers was scheduled to begin at the end of May.
The lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe Systems, which dates back to 2011, alleged that the companies conspired to refrain from soliciting one another's employees in order to avert a salary war, Reuters said.
Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and some of their Silicon Valley rivals allegedly hatched plans via emails to avoid poaching each other's prized engineers.
Tech workers planned to ask for $3bn in damages, according to court filings. The amount could have tripled to $9bn under antitrust law.
The companies acknowledged that they had entered into some no-hire agreements, but denied the claim that they conspired to bring down wage rates in the sector. They also argued that employees should not be allowed to sue them as a group.
An Adobe representative denied any wrongdoing by the company. He noted that the settlement was "in order to avoid the uncertainties, cost and distraction of litigation," Reuters reported.
Other companies declined to comment.
An attorney for the plaintiffs, Kelly Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, said the deal was "an excellent resolution."
Other terms of the settlement will be disclosed by 27 May, Reuters said. However, it is unclear whether the companies will reveal how much money each of them will pay.
One likely formula would be to divide the damages based on how many employees each company has in the class, according to Daniel Crane, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School.