The merger of Random House and Penguin came one step closer to completion Thursday when the U.S. Department of Justice gave its approval to the deal, without asking for any conditions. There was some industry speculation that the U.S. government might require the joint company to make a divestiture in an area where they felt PRH would have an overwhelming position.

Thomas Rabe, Chairman & CEO of Bertelsmann, naturally welcomed the news. “We are very pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has concluded its review and made a determination to clear the planned combination of Random House and Penguin without any conditions,” Rabe said. "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.”

The proposed merger is still being reviewed by the European Commission, the Canadian Competition Bureau, and various other antitrust authorities around the world. And despite the quick DoJ approval Pearson and Bertelsmann continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2013.

Following completion, Bertelsmann will own 53% and Pearson 47% of Penguin Random House.