Posted on November 3, 2021 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Penguin Random House’s bid to buy fellow Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster officially has a powerful foe: the US Department of Justice.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland, in a statement released yesterday about the DOJ’s antitrust suit against the deal, expressed strong concerns about it.

“If the world's largest book publisher is permitted to acquire one of its biggest rivals, it will have unprecedented control over this important industry,” he said in the statement.

“American authors and consumers will pay the price of this anticompetitive merger — lower advances for authors and ultimately fewer books and less variety for consumers.”

The Associated Press notes that the Authors Guild, a writers’ organization, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns Big Five publisher HarperCollins, have both publicly objected to the merger as well.

Lawyers for Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, meanwhile, disputed the claims that their deal would hurt authors.

“DOJ has not found, nor does it allege, that the combination will reduce competition in the sale of books,” said Daniel Petrocelli, Penguin Random House’s lawyer, in a statement.

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Categories: Today in Books

Tagged As: Lawsuit, NPR, Publishing

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