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Judge stops merger of Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster
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A U.S. judge blocked the $2.2 billion merger of Penguin Random House and rival Simon & Schuster, agreeing with the Justice Department that the joining could "lessen competition" for "top-selling books."
In a Monday brief, U.S. District Court Judge Florence Pan said that much of her ruling remained under seal at the moment because of "confidential information" and "highly confidential information."
The DOJ had argued the merger should be stopped because it would lead to less competition for blockbuster books and lower advances for authors who earn $250,000 or more.
Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement that the merger would reduce competition, decrease author compensation, diminish the breadth, depth, and diversity of stories and ideas and "[impoverish] our democracy."
He said the judge's action was a victory for authors, readers and the free exchange of ideas.
Penguin Random House told FOX Business in an emailed statement on Tuesday that it would "immediately request an expedited appeal," calling the decision an "unfortunate setback for readers and authors."
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"We believe this merger will be pro-competitive, and we will continue to work closely with Paramount and Simon & Schuster on next steps," the company added.