Federal Judge Blocks Merger Of U.S. Publishing Houses
A federal judge has blocked Penguin Random House’s proposed purchase of Simon & Schuster, agreeing with the Justice Department that the joining of two of the world’s biggest publishers could “lessen competition” for “top-selling books.”
Photo Insert: Penguin Random House quickly condemned the ruling, which it called “an unfortunate setback for readers and authors.”
The ruling was a victory for the Biden administration’s tougher approach to proposed mergers, a break from decades of precedent under Democratic and Republican leadership, Hillel Italie and Marcy Gordon reported for the Associated Press (AP).
US District Court Judge Florence Y. Pan announced the decision in a brief statement Monday, adding that much of her ruling remained under seal at the moment because of “confidential information” and “highly confidential information.” She asked the two sides to meet with her Friday and suggest redactions.
Penguin Random House quickly condemned the ruling, which it called “an unfortunate setback for readers and authors.”
In its statement Monday, the publisher said it would seek an expedited appeal. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division praised the decision, saying in a statement that the decision “protects vital competition for books and is a victory for authors, readers, and the free exchange of ideas.”