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DOJ blocks Penguin Random House’s takeover of Simon & Schuster



The case: While the trial centered on the normal guide publishing market, Amazon loomed massive. The firms argued that the deal was essential to compete with each Amazon’s large guide gross sales operation and its rising in-house publishing enterprise. The DOJ argued that Amazon’s publishing enterprise pales compared to the biggest conventional publishing firms.

A give attention to labor markets: The case was additionally notable for DOJ’s give attention to hurt to writers somewhat than the last word patrons of books. The authorities argued that the deal would scale back competitors between publishers vying to buy the rights to probably the most well-known authors. The marquee witness testifying in opposition to the deal was the famed novelist Stephen King.

“‘[T]he effect of [the proposed merger] may be substantially to lessen competition in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books,” Pan wrote in a court docket submitting Thursday.

While Pan’s opinion stays sealed, the DOJ’s victory in a case focusing on the labor market, a principle with comparatively little precedent in court docket, will probably give it momentum for extra aggressive authorized theories in future instances.

“Today’s decision protects vital competition for books and is a victory for authors, readers, and the free exchange of ideas,” stated DOJ antitrust head Jonathan Kanter in an announcement. ”The deal would have diminished competitors, decreased writer compensation, diminished the breadth, depth, and variety of our tales and concepts, and finally impoverished our democracy.”

“We strongly disagree with today’s decision, which is an unfortunate setback for readers and authors, and we will immediately request an expedited appeal,” stated Penguin spokesperson Alexandra Hill in an announcement. “As we demonstrated throughout the trial, the Department of Justice’s focus on advances to the world’s best-paid authors instead of consumers or the intense competitiveness in the publishing sector runs contrary to its mission to ensure fair competition.”

Simon & Schuster didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.



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