US Department of Justice files legal action to block book publishing merger

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (Reuters) – The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to prevent Penguin Random House, the world’s largest book publisher, from buying competitor Simon & Schuster, court records show .

In November, German media group Bertelsmann, owner of Penguin Random House, agreed to pay $ 2.175 billion in cash to buy Simon and Schuster from ViacomCBS, further strengthening its presence in the United States.

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

The complaint highlights the importance of companies competing for the best-selling books and the money earned by the people who write them.

“This competition allowed authors to earn more for their publication rights in the form of advances (that is, upfront payments to authors for the rights to publish their works) and to receive better editorial services, marketing and others that are critical to the success of their books, ”the complaint said.

The complaint also stated that Simon & Schuster is the fourth largest book publisher in the United States and that, if combined with Penguin Random House, its US revenues would be twice that of its closest competitor.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson Editing by Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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