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EU clears Penguin Random House merger

The European Commission has cleared the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House.

The commission announced its decision in a statement on 5 April, saying that ‘the transaction would not raise competition concerns’ as ‘the merged entity will continue to face several strong competitors’.

The commission said it assessed the proposed merger both in terms of ‘the acquisition of authors’ rights for English language books’ and ‘the sales of English language books to dealers’ in the region. It found that ‘in both types of markets, the new entity Penguin Random House will continue to face competition from several large and numerous small and medium sized publishers’.  

‘In regards to the sale of English language books, the merged entity will furthermore face a concentrated retail base, such as supermarkets for print books and large online retailers for ebooks, including Amazon,’ said the commission. ‘In addition, the commission’s investigation revealed no evidence that the transaction would lead to risks of coordination among publishers in relation to the acquisition of authors’ rights and the sale of English language books to dealers’.

Penguin parent company Pearson and Random House parent company Bertelsmann welcomed the approval in a combined statement on 5 April and said that they ‘continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2013, after all necessary approvals have been received’. Reviews of the merger are still underway in a number of territories, including Canada and China.  

The proposed merger, which was announced by Pearson and Bertelsmann in October 2012, was cleared of any competition issues by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the New Zealand Commerce Commission in March. The Department of Justice in the US was the first competition regulator to sign off on the proposed merger in February.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the merger will create a new company called Penguin Random House, with Bertelsmann owning 53% of the company and Pearson owning 47%.



Category: Local news