After a judge blocked the proposed $2.2 billion merger of Paramount-owned Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House, Paramount Global has terminated the purchase agreement and has asked Penguin Random House to pay a $200 million termination fee.
“We believe the judge’s ruling is wrong and planned to appeal the decision, confident we could make a compelling and persuasive argument to reverse the lower court ruling on appeal,” Penguin said in a statement on Monday. “However, we have to accept Paramount’s decision not to move forward.”
Paramount still seemed eager to offload the publishing company, writing in its Monday statement: “Simon & Schuster remains a non-core asset to Paramount… however, it is not video-based and therefore does not fit strategically within Paramount’s broader portfolio.”
Horror novelist Stephen King, who writes for Simon & Schuster, testified in the DOJ antitrust trial. He tweeted on Oct 31 that he was “delighted” with Judge Florence Pan’s decision to block the merger. “The proposed merger was never about readers and writers; it was about preserving (and growing) PRH’s market share. In other words: $$$.”
Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division called the Oct. 31 “a victory for authors, readers, and the free exchange of ideas,” in a statement. “The proposed merger would have reduced competition, decreased author compensation, diminished the breadth, depth, and diversity of our stories and ideas, and ultimately impoverished our democracy.