A compilation of PW's coverage of U.S. v. Bertelsmann SE & CO. KGaA, et al., the U.S. Department of Justice's bid to block Penguin Random House's acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster, with the most recent coverage up top.

In addition to our reporting, PW news editor John Maher live-tweeted the first half of trial testimony, and writer Bethanne Patrick will live-tweet the remainder of week two.

Week Two

Agents Have Their Say: In a day dominated by testimony from some of publishing's leading agents, the overall theme was that the biggest advance is not the only thing that is important in reaching an agreement with a publisher, and that these agents believe that S&S authors would benefit from becoming part of PRH.

Agents, Publishers Move Center Stage: As attorneys for Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster took their turn to defend PRH's purchase of S&S, William Morris Endeavor's Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Gallery publisher Jennifer Bergstrom, and Norton's John Glusman found themselves in the witness chair.

Brian Murray Still Wants S&S at HarperCollins: HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray, testifying in the trial over whether the Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster trial will go through, said he was “shocked” by the price PRH offered for S&S. Later in the day, the defense cross-examined the government's economic witness. more...

Don Weisberg, Government's Economist See Danger in PRH-S&S Merger: As the government's case against Penguin Random House's acquisition of Simon & Schuster winds down, Macmillan CEO Don Weisberg and government economist Nicholas Hill laid out reasons why they are concerned about the impact of the proposed merger.

Week One

Markus Dohle's Silicon Valley of Media: On day four of the trial, the government called Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle who described publishers as the "angel investors in our authors and their dreams, their stories."

Karp's Second Day of Testimony: On day three of the trial, S&S CEO Jonathan Karp finished his testimony as a government witness. Also taking the stand, DOJ statistician Adriana Porro.

Jonathan Karp and Stephen King Take the Stand: The second day of the DOJ's trial featured a little star power: bestselling author Stephen King took the stand. But in terms of the case before the court, the highlight of the day was the testimony of S&S CEO Jonathan Karp. Also taking the stand, literary agent Ayesha Pande, who finished her testimony; S&S CFO Dennis Eulau; and a portion of Kansington CEO Steve Zacharius's video testimony was played in court.

Opening Arguments, Pietsch Testimony on Day One of DOJ Trial to Block PRH/S&S Merger: After months of anticipation, the government’s bid to block Penguin Random House’s acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster got off to tedious start. In addition to Pietsch, literary agent Ayesha Pande began her testimony.

Trial to Block PRH/S&S Merger Begins; Evidence Dispute Looms: The trial got underway on August 1 in Washington, D.C., with the case expected to run about three weeks. Meanwhile, filings made public late on July 29 shed light on a lingering pre-trial evidence dispute that could impact PRH’s defense.

Pre-Trial Coverage

In Final Briefs, DOJ, PRH Flesh Out Arguments Ahead of Trial: With oral arguments set to begin on August 1 in Washington, D.C., the parties on July 25 filed their final pre-trial briefs outlining their cases for trial.

Showdown: DOJ’s Bid to Block PRH Acquisition of S&S Is Heading to Trial: PW previews the U.S. Department of Justice’s bid to block Penguin Random House’s acquisition of rival Big Five publisher Simon & Schuster.

Justice Department Sues to Block Penguin Random House Acquisition of S&S: On November 2, 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block Penguin Random House parent company Bertelsmann’s proposed acquisition of Viacom CBS subsidiary Simon & Schuster, arguing that it “would result in substantial harm to authors.”

Bertelsmann to Buy S&S for $2.2 Billion: On November 25, 2020 Bertelsmann emerged as the winning bidder for Simon & Schuster. In an announcement, the parent company of Penguin Random House said it had reached an agreement to buy S&S from ViacomCBS for $2.175 billion.

Is Simon & Schuster a Bargain at $1.7 Billion?: The New York Times reported that HarperCollins and Penguin Random House were the favorites to acquire Simon & Schuster with the expected purchase price to be at least $1.7 billion, the top end of original estimates of $1.2 billion–$1.7 billion for the price of the country’s third-largest trade publisher.