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Stephen King testifies towards merger of publishing giants

Stephen KingGetty Images

American horror novelist Stephen King is taking over a brand new monster: company consolidation.

The creator was the star witness in an anti-trust trial to dam the 2 largest US publishers’ $2.2bn merger.

The US Department of Justice referred to as on King to testify about how the proposed tie-up of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster might have an effect on authors.

King, 75, instructed the courtroom in Washington DC that he felt “the move would be bad for competition in the industry”.

Both publishing homes have argued the merger wouldn’t hinder competitors as a result of the businesses would proceed to bid towards one another for the rights to publish novels, even after the transaction is finalised.

King – who has 50 years’ expertise in publishing – referred to as that concept “a little bit ridiculous”.

“You might as well say you’re going to have a husband and wife bidding against each other for the same house,” the novelist quipped, in keeping with journalists within the courtroom.

Since publishing his first novel, Carrie, in 1974, King has penned greater than 70 novels – together with different cult classics like The Shining, and It – which have offered over 350m copies.

In the final decade, King has additionally turn out to be extra outspoken on social media, interacting with followers and sometimes encouraging his 6.eight million Twitter followers to assist native and unbiased bookstores.

In November 2020, Penguin Random House and Paramount Global, Simon & Schuster’s dad or mum firm, introduced plans for a merger.

A 12 months later, the justice division sued to dam the acquisition. US President Joe Biden’s administration has vowed to extend competitors as a central a part of its financial coverage.

“American authors and consumers will pay the price of this anticompetitive merger – lower advances for authors and ultimately fewer books and less variety for consumers,” US Attorney General Merrick Garland mentioned following the announcement of the lawsuit.

Attorneys representing the merger have denied these allegations and argue that stopping the transaction “would harm the very authors DOJ purports to protect”.

The “DOJ has not found, nor does it allege, that the combination will reduce competition in the sale of books”, Daniel Petrocelli, Penguin’s lead legal professional within the trial, mentioned in a press release.

“We are confident that the robust and competitive landscape that exists will ensure a decision that the acquisition will promote, not harm, competition.”

Anti-trust authorized motion seeks to make sure acquisitions and mergers don’t create market monopolies, or anti-competitive practices similar to price-fixing.

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