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Mega Publisher Deal Asks Judge To Reject US Antitrust Suit

 |  December 13, 2021

Two major book publishers told a judge a US Justice Department antitrust lawsuit should be rejected, calling the government’s arguments “legally, factually, and economically wrong,” reported Reuters. 

In November, the Justice Department sued to block Penguin Random House, the world’s biggest book publisher, from buying competitor Simon & Schuster, saying the deal would give the company “outsized influence” over what Americans read.

“The merger will neither reduce that leverage nor lessen the incentives of Penguin Random House and its competitors to make aggressive offers for the most coveted books,” the companies said in a court filing Monday.

Related: Authors Guild Wants DOJ To Stop Simon & Schuster & Penguin Random House Deal

German media group Bertelsmann, which owns Penguin Random House, last year agreed to pay $2.175 billions to buy Simon and Schuster from ViacomCBS, strengthening its presence in the United States and adding novelist Stephen King, Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr and veteran journalist Bob Woodward to its stable of authors.

In its complaint filed in federal court in Washington, the Justice Department said the deal would give “outsized influence over who and what is published, and how much authors are paid for their work.”

The complaint stressed the importance of the companies competing for top-selling books as well as the money earned by authors who write them.

The booksellers said the Justice Department “wants to protect the most successful authors, those with sophisticated agents and the most lucrative book contracts.”