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Stephen King among trial witnesses set to raise fears over publisher merger – National

The U.S. Justice Division will ask a federal decide on Monday to dam a $2.2-billion merger of two of the “Huge 5” guide publishers — Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster — in a trial that’s anticipated to characteristic testimony from horror author Stephen King.

The federal government’s case is anticipated to focus not on what shoppers pay for books however the influence the merger would have on advances paid to probably the most profitable authors, particularly these whose works internet them $250,000 or extra.

“The proof will present that the proposed merger would doubtless lead to authors of anticipated top-selling books receiving smaller advances, that means authors who labor for years over their manuscripts might be paid much less for his or her efforts,” the federal government stated in a pretrial transient.

The federal government additionally intends to point out there was concern among the many merging events that the deal will not be authorized.

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It beforehand disclosed an electronic mail despatched by Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp who wrote: “I’m fairly certain the Division of Justice wouldn’t enable Penguin Random Home to purchase us, however that’s assuming we nonetheless have a Division of Justice.”

King, writer of “The Shining,” “Carrie,” “IT” and different blockbusters, will testify for the federal government, together with publishing executives and authors’ brokers.

Penguin Random Home, the most important guide writer in the US, stated it deliberate to purchase rival Simon & Schuster in November 2020.

The Justice Division filed its lawsuit in November 2021.

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The defence, led by lawyer Daniel Petrocelli who defeated the Trump administration’s 2018 bid to cease AT&T from shopping for Time Warner, will argue the marketplace for books, and for publishers to win top-selling authors, is aggressive and that the merger will make it much more so.

The publishers will doubtless argue that the proof exhibits that in bidding for potential bestsellers Penguin Random Home and Simon & Schuster “are not often the highest two bidders.”

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The highest 5 publishers are Penguin Random Home, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, with Walt Disney Co. and Amazon additionally available in the market.

Decide Florence Pan of the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Columbia will resolve if the deal could go ahead. The trial is anticipated to final two to 3 weeks.

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