U.S. Gov't Approves Random House-Penguin Merger

11:32 AM PST 02/14/2013 by Andy Lewis

The Department of Justice gave the go-ahead for the creation of the new company, which will control 30 percent of trade book sales.

Pearson and Bertelsmann announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice had okayed the merger of its subsidiary publishing companies Penguin and Random House "without conditions."

"We are very pleased," said Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe in a statement. ”This positive first decision by one of the antitrust authorities is an important milestone on the path to uniting two of the world’s leading publishing companies into a truly global publishing group.”

Other international antitrust bodies, including the Canadian government and the European Union, still need to weigh in on the deal, but U.S. approval puts the merger on-track to be completed in the second half of 2013.

The combined Penguin Random House would control about 30 percent of all trade book publishing, causing some to express concern about the effects of consolidation. 

Under the deal, first announced in late October, Bertelsmann, owner of Random House, would control 53 percent of the new entity and Pearson, owner of Penguin, the other 47 percent. 

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