The proposed merger between two of the largest publishers in the world is in serious jeopardy. Penguin Random House wants to buy Simon and Shuster and US judge has blocked the deal from going through. The judge stated that the merger would be bad for authors, royalties and competition.
U.S. 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. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement that the decision “protects vital competition for books and is a victory for authors, readers, and the free exchange of ideas. “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.”
Penguin Random House is upset with the ruling. In a statement to Good e-Reader, the publisher said “We strongly disagree with today’s decision, which is an unfortunate setback for readers and authors, and we will immediately request an expedited appeal. As we demonstrated throughout the trial, the Department of Justice’s focus on advances to the world’s best-paid authors instead of consumers or the intense competitiveness in the publishing sector runs contrary to its mission to ensure fair competition. We believe this merger will be pro-competitive, and we will continue to work closely with Paramount and Simon & Schuster on next steps.”