Penguin Random House announced its bid to acquire Simon & Schuster in November 2020. The deal — bringing together two of the top five book publishers in the United States — would normally have gone into effect by now. But the Justice Department stands in the way, and an antitrust case is set to begin on Monday.
Judge Florence Pan of the US District Court in Washington, DC will conduct oral arguments for approximately three weeks. The government says in its pre-trial brief that the publishing combination would “further entrench the largest publishing giant in the United States (and the world) and give the combined company control of nearly half the market to acquire anticipated best-selling books from authors.” “
“The market dynamics will be the same after the merger,” the publishers say, dismissing the argument that authors would suffer.
The judge is due to decide in November…
Simon & Schuster (which, quite openly, was the publisher of my last book) is being sold by Paramount Global in one way or another. There is much speculation about potential private equity bidders. But for now, the buyer is Penguin Random House, and S&S CEO Jonathan Karp (who previously worked at PRH for 16 years) said in a recent memo to employees that “we and our writers will benefit greatly from being part of this great company.” become a publisher.”
>> “Regardless of the outcome,” Karp wrote, there will be a new owner, and “the best and most important thing we can do is focus on achieving excellence on behalf of our authors and their books, which in anchored to our goal…”