Stephen King among witnesses at trial who will stoke fears of publisher merger – National

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday will ask a federal judge to block a $2.2 billion merger of two of the “Big Five” book publishers — Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster — in a trial that is expected to require testimony from the horror author Stephen will be king.

The government’s case is expected to focus not on what consumers pay for books, but on the impact the merger would have on the advances paid to the most successful authors, particularly those whose works inspired them bring in $250,000 or more.

“The evidence will show that the proposed merger would likely result in authors of books likely to sell well receiving reduced advances, meaning authors who spend years working on their manuscripts will be paid less for their efforts,” the government said in a pre-trial brief.

The government also intends to show that there were concerns among the merger parties that the deal is not legal.

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Previously, an email was released by Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp, who wrote: “I’m pretty sure the Justice Department wouldn’t allow Penguin Random House to buy us, but that’s assuming we still have a Justice Department.” to have.”

King, author of The Shining, Carrie, IT and other blockbuster hits, will testify for the government along with publishing executives and writers’ agents.

Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the United States, said it plans to buy rival Simon & Schuster in November 2020.

The Justice Department filed its lawsuit in November 2021.

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The defense, led by attorney Daniel Petrocelli, who denied the Trump administration’s 2018 request to block AT&T from buying Time Warner, will argue that the market for books and for publishers to attract high-grossing authors is competitive and that the merger will even it out even more.

Publishers are likely to argue that the evidence shows that Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are “rarely the top two bidders” when it comes to bidding on potential bestsellers.

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The five largest publishers are Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, but Walt Disney Co. and Amazon are also on the market.

Judge Florence Pan of the US District Court for the District of Columbia will decide whether the deal can go ahead. The process should take two to three weeks.

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