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U.S. files antitrust suit to stop book publishing merger

by The Associated. Press | November 3, 2021 at 2:14 a.m.

U.S. regulators are suing to block a $2.2 billion book publishing deal that would have reshaped the industry, saying consolidation would hurt authors and readers.

German media giant Bertelsmann's Penguin Random House, already the largest American publisher, wants to buy New York-based Simon & Schuster, whose authors include Stephen King, Hillary Clinton and John Irving, from TV and film company ViacomCBS.

The Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Tuesday, saying the deal would let Penguin Random House "exert outsize influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work."

The purchase of Simon & Schuster would reduce the so-called Big Five of American publishing -- which also includes HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan -- to four.

The Authors Guild, a writers' organization, has said it opposes the deal because it would make it more difficult for authors and agents to negotiate with publishers and lead to less competition for authors' manuscripts.

In a statement, the publishers said it would fight the lawsuit and blocking the deal would harm authors.

Print Headline: U.S. files antitrust suit to stop book publishing merger


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