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Burning Big Book

from Vanity Fair

“TOO LATE TO STAND UP AGAINST AMAZON”: BOOK-INDUSTRY INSIDERS BACK THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S BID TO STOP A PUBLISHING MEGA-MERGER

The Department of Justice’s attempt to halt Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster finds support within an industry already burned by bad trends. “Obviously every agent is thrilled that the wheels might be grinding to a halt on this,” one insider says.

BY JOE POMPEO

Image may contain Joe Biden Clothing Apparel Human Person Finger and Hand
ILLUSTRATION BY QUINTON MCMILLAN. IMAGE FROM GETTY. 

The news this week that the Biden administration is headed to court to stop Penguin Random House from acquiring Simon & Schuster added a new ripple of drama to the already feverish climate of media M&A. Biden’s Department of Justice, which is taking a more aggressive approach to corporate consolidation, says that the proposed $2.18 billion merger would give Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher, “unprecedented control” over the book-publishing industry, and that it would result in “lower advances for authors and ultimately fewer books and less variety for consumers.” PRH and S&S argue that the merger would not reduce “the number of books acquired” or the “amounts paid for those acquisitions,” and that the two publishing houses, both members of the so-called “Big Five,” would still be permitted to bid against each other in auctions “up to an advance level well in excess of $1 million.” PRH has its boxing gloves on: The company has retained Daniel Petrocelli, the same man who litigated AT&T and Time Warner’s successful battle with the Trump administration in 2018. (Pass the popcorn.)

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on November 9, 2021 by Editor

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