With the deal’s dissolution, Penguin will pay a US$200 million termination fee to Paramount.
Paramount said on Monday that Simon & Schuster was a “non-core asset” to Paramount. “It is not video-based and therefore does not fit strategically within Paramount’s broader portfolio,” the company said in a filing on the deal’s termination.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Unlike most merger fights, which focus on what consumers pay, the Biden administration argued the deal should be stopped because it would lead to less competition for blockbuster books and lower advances for authors who earn US$250,000 or more.
Penguin writers include cookbook author Ina Garten and novelists Zadie Smith and Danielle Steele, while Simon & Schuster publishes Stephen King, Jennifer Weiner and Hillary Rodham Clinton, among others.
The US Justice Department filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping the deal in November 2021.
In hearings held in August, the government argued that the largest five publishers control 90% of the market, and a combined Penguin and Simon & Schuster would control nearly half of the market for publishing rights to blockbuster books, while its nearest competitors would be less than half its size.
The top five publishers are Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, with Walt Disney Co and Amazon.com Inc also in the market. HarperCollins is owned by News Corp.
The news is published by EMEA Tribune & SCMP