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PRH acquisition of S&S goes to court

In the US, the bid by the Department of Justice (DoJ) to block the acquisition of Simon & Schuster (S&S) by Penguin Random House (PRH) will be heard in court beginning 1 August, reports Publishers Weekly.

The case will be held before judge Florence Pan in Washington DC and is expected to run for around three weeks. A total of 72 hours have been allotted for arguments, and the witness lists include Big Five CEOs, major literary agents and bestselling author Stephen King, who’s listed as a government witness.

Most of the evidence to be presented in the case remains under seal. However, law professor Christopher T Sagers told Publishers Weekly: ‘Despite what some observers have said, the government’s case is a pretty standard horizontal merger case’.

‘If the evidence supports its allegations, and if they can avoid getting sucked down some of the rabbit holes that will make up the defense’s rebuttal, the government has a reasonable chance of winning,’ Sagers said, adding there are ‘deeper, conceptual questions’ facing the government’s case, due largely to its focus on the potential harm the proposed deal poses to author payments rather than on any alleged harm to consumers.

While the proposed deal has attracted industry criticism, Publishers Weekly reports that the industry has accepted that someone is going to buy Simon & Schuster. ‘Of all the identifiable options at this point, many in the industry have suggested, on background, that PRH may well be the most preferable landing spot,’ Publishers Weekly said.


Category: International news