clearn.png
Friday January 27th, 2023 8:35PM

Proposed merger of two publishing giants is officially over

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Simon & Schuster's corporate parent has officially ended the agreement for Penguin Random House to purchase the publisher, a proposed sale a federal judge already had blocked last month.

Paramount Global also announced Monday that it still plans to sell Simon & Schuster, a nearly century-old company where authors include Stephen King, Colleen Hoover and Bob Woodward. Simon & Schuster has had a strong 2022 so far, thanks in part to bestsellers by Hoover and King, who had opposed the merger and even testified on behalf of the government during last summer's antitrust trial.

“Simon & Schuster remains a non-core asset to Paramount, as was determined in early 2020 when Paramount conducted a strategic review of its assets,” Paramount announced. “Simon & Schuster is a highly valuable business with a recent record of strong performance, however it is not video-based and therefore does not fit strategically within Paramount’s broader portfolio.”

Penguin Random House owes a $200 million termination fee to Paramount, according to the agreement's original terms. Penguin Random House, the country's largest publisher, is owned by the German conglomerate Bertelsmann.

Other members of book publishing's so-called “Big Five” — which include Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishing, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan — may now try for Simon & Schuster. HarperCollins was among the losing bidders to Penguin Random House, which offered $2.2 billion. During the trial, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch also expressed interest in Simon & Schuster.

The CEO of the Authors Guild, which represents thousands of published writers, issued a statement saying the guild would oppose any mergers among the Big Five.

“If either HarperCollins or Hachette were allowed to buy S&S, while the resulting company would not be as big as PRH and S&S combined, it would result in only four major publishers that regularly pay the kind of advances authors need to sustain a living (more or less) writing,” the Guild's Mary Rasenberger wrote.

Penguin Random House had planned to appeal the decision, and issued a statement Monday saying it remained convinced it would have been “the best home for Simon & Schuster’s employees and authors.”

“However, we have to accept Paramount’s decision not to move forward,” the publisher's statement reads.

The proposed merger of the two publishing giants, which would have resulted in by far the biggest book publishing house in U.S. history, was first announced late in 2020. But the Justice Department sued last year, contending that the new combination would stifle competition for best-selling books and lead to lower advances for authors. U.S. District Judge Florence Y. Pan seemed to favor the government's arguments during the 3-week trial and issued a decision in late October agreeing that the merger would damage book publishing.

Her ruling was a break from decades of precedent, when numerous publishing mergers were allowed with little objection, and fit a larger pattern of the Biden administration's efforts to more forcefully apply antitrust law.

On Monday, Simon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp issued a company memo expressing optimism about the publisher's future.

“We will be celebrating our 100th anniversary in April of 2024, regardless of who our owner is — and we will have much to celebrate,” he wrote.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Entertainment, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Prosecution rests in Trump Organization tax fraud case
Prosecutors in the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud trial have rested their case
5:18PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Oregon's governor pardons thousands for pot convictions
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has announced she is pardoning an estimated 45,000 people convicted of simple possession of marijuana, a month after President Joe Biden did the same under federal law
5:07PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Iger back on top in a Disney plot twist that few saw coming
Bob Iger, the enterprising entertainment executive who brought Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel under the Disney marquee and challenged the streaming dominance of Netflix, will replace his handpicked successor, CEO Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure has been marked by clashes, missteps and a weakening financial performance
5:05PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Amid Musk Twitter chaos, athletes & celebs cope just like us
Much like many of Twitter's hundreds of millions of users, professional sports stars and celebrities from the entertainment world are dealing with the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the microblogging app since Elon Musk took it over and began trimming the staff and making other changes
1:48PM ( 3 hours ago )
Chaka Khan tells stories through Apple's Time to Walk series
Chaka Khan wants people to walk with her while she tells inspirational stories
12:05PM ( 5 hours ago )
New this week: Lizzo, 'Criminal Minds' and 'The Woman King'
This week’s new entertainment releases include an live posthumous album from Tom Petty, the criminal profile spinoff series “Criminal Minds: Evolution,” a documentary about the plucky Mars Rover Opportunity and a TV series that focuses on the backstage melodrama at the Chippendale’s male strip clubs
11:39AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
New York issues first licenses for legal pot dispensaries
New York has issued the state's first 36 cannabis dispensary licenses, taking a monumental step in establishing a legal and lucrative marketplace for recreational marijuana
4:40PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Some say gay club shooting was 'desecration' of safe space
In the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, Club Q has long been a go-to spot for members of the LGBTQ community — a safe space where many felt they could just be themselves
4:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ukraine to civilians: Leave liberated areas before winter
Ukrainian authorities are evacuating civilians from liberated areas in the southern Kherson and Mykolaiv regions
4:12PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Interest rate anxiety hangs over Wall Street as week begins
Wall Street is following global stock markets lower to open a holiday-shortened week as anxiety over Federal Reserve plans for more interest rate hikes continues to weigh on investors
8:26AM ( 8 hours ago )
Justices asked to hear dog toy dispute. Will they bite?
The company that makes Jack Daniel’s is howling mad over a squeaking dog toy that parodies the whiskey’s signature bottle
2:35PM ( 1 day ago )
George Lois, icon of ads and magazine covers, dead at 91
Advertising giant George Lois has died at age 91
10:01PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Iger back on top in a Disney plot twist that few saw coming
Bob Iger, the enterprising entertainment executive who brought Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel under the Disney marquee and challenged the streaming dominance of Netflix, will replace his handpicked successor, CEO Bob Chapek, whose two-year tenure has been marked by clashes, missteps and a weakening financial performance
5:05PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Gay bar shooting suspect faces murder, hate crime charges
The man suspected of opening fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs is being held on murder and hate crime charges
5:03PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Stocks end lower on Wall Street as tech weighs down Nasdaq
Stocks ended lower on Wall Street at the beginning of a holiday-shortened week
4:57PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Gay club shooting suspect evaded Colorado's red flag gun law
The suspect in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb last year
4:55PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Widow asks $55M from NCAA for ex-USC football player's death
An attorney for the widow of a former University of Southern California football player has asked a jury to award her more than $50 million in a lawsuit accusing the NCAA with failing to protect her husband from repetitive head trauma
4:48PM ( 35 minutes ago )