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Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger – Business News

A federal judge has ruled against Penguin Random House’s proposed purchase of Simon & Schuster, agreeing with the Justice Department that the joining of two of the world’s biggest publishers could “lessen competition” for “top-selling books.”

U.S. District Court Judge Florence Y. Pan announced the decision in a brief statement Monday, adding that much of her ruling remained under seal at the moment because of “confidential information” and “highly confidential information.” She asked the two sides to meet with her Friday and suggest redactions.

Penguin Random House quickly condemned the ruling, which it called “an unfortunate setback for readers and authors.” In its statement 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 have reduced competition, decreased author compensation, diminished the breadth, depth, and diversity of our stories and ideas, and ultimately impoverished our democracy,” he added.

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