U.S. officials have filed a lawsuit in a bid to block Penguin Random House’s takeover of Simon & Schuster, saying the deal would give Penguin too much control over the publishing market.
Penguin currently operates more than 300 imprints worldwide and has 15,000 new releases a year, far more than the other four major U.S. publishers.
With its $2.2bn proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster, the government said the deal would give Penguin close to half the market for the acquisition of publishing rights to “anticipated top-selling books”, adding that its next largest competitor would be less than half the size.
In a complaint filed today it said: “The merger would give Penguin Random House outsized influence over who and what is published, and how much authors are paid for their work.”
Rather than concerns solely over harm to consumers, the Department of Justice said the acquisition could be detrimental to authors, creating a monopsony, as opposed to a monopoly.