WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Justice Department in its civil antitrust lawsuit to block book publisher Penguin Random House’s proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of Simon & Schuster. The court found that the effect of the proposed merger would be to substantially lessen competition in the market for the U.S. publishing rights to anticipated top-selling books.
“Today’s decision protects vital competition for books and is a victory for authors, readers, and the free exchange of ideas,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The proposed merger would have reduced competition, decreased author compensation, diminished the breadth, depth, and diversity of our stories and ideas, and ultimately impoverished our democracy.”
“The decision is also a victory for workers more broadly,” said AAG Kanter. “It reaffirms that the antitrust laws protect competition for the acquisition of goods and services from workers. I would like to thank the talented, hardworking staff of the Antitrust Division for their steadfast efforts to safeguard competition in this important case.”
The court’s decision follows a thirteen-day trial in August 2022. In November 2021, the Justice Department sued to stop the merger under Section 7 of the Clayton Act. The district court’s opinion is temporarily under seal to allow the parties to review for confidentiality.