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A judge blocks the merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster | WGN 720 Radio

by: HILLEL ITALIE, Associated Press

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NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has ruled against Penguin Random House’s proposed purchase of Simon & Schuster, agreeing with the Justice Department that the merger of the world’s two largest publishers could “reduce competition” for “best-selling books.”

U.S. District Court Judge Florence Y. Pan announced the decision in a brief statement Monday, adding that much of her ruling remains sealed for now because of “confidential information” and “highly confidential information.” She asked both parties to meet with her on Friday and offer redactions.

Penguin Random House was quick to condemn the ruling, calling it an “unfortunate setback for readers and authors”. In a statement on Monday, the publisher said it would immediately seek an expedited appeal.

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 reduce competition, reduce compensation for authors, reduce the breadth, depth and diversity of our stories and ideas, and ultimately impoverish our democracy,” he added.


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