On Tuesday, the U.S Justice Department sued against Penguin Random House’s planned acquisition of one of its main competitors, Simon & Schuster. The Biden administration said the acquisition would enable the publishing company to “exert outsized influence over which books are published in the United States and how much authors are paid for their work.”

Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, promised earlier this year to allow Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster editors to bid against each other post-acquisition. However, the Justice Department believes the proposed merge would cut back on “this important competition” and result in lower advances for authors. Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “The complaint filed today to ensure fair competition in the U.S. publishing industry is the latest demonstration of the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing economic opportunity and fairness through antitrust enforcement.”

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Justice Department’s complaint said that if Penguin Random House acquires Simon & Schuster for a proposed $2.18 billion, it would put the former in control of close to half of the publishing market for top-selling books. In response to the lawsuit, the two publishing companies said they planned to fight the lawsuit.


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