Stephen King criticizes Simon & Schuster deal in antitrust proceedings

Legendary author Stephen King testified on Tuesday on behalf of the government in the antitrust case aimed at blocking Penguin Random House from acquiring Paramount Global publisher Simon & Schuster.

The prolific author has long been associated with Simon & Schuster. But he testified in federal court in Washington, DC, against the $2.1 billion deal, supporting the government’s claim that the deal will harm authors by restricting the market for new manuscripts.

“I came because I think consolidation is bad for competition,” King testified before US District Judge Florence J. Pan in the bank case, according to the Associated Press. “It’s getting harder and harder for writers to find money to live on.”

King disputed Penguin Random House’s claim that the acquisition would not result in the loss of an independent bidder since Simon & Schuster would operate independently of other publishing labels in Penguin’s groups.

“You might as well say that a man and a woman are going to bid against each other for the same house,” King said, according to the AP. “It would be kind of very gentlemanly and kind of ‘after you’ and ‘after you’.”

King testified that the publishing landscape has changed dramatically since he began his career in the mid-1970s, with bestsellers like “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and “The Stand,” according to the AP.

The Biden administration surprised the industry last year when it targeted the deal unveiled in November 2021. Given the rapid expansion of the media landscape over the past 25 years, examining consolidation in the oldest of all media platforms was head-scratching for something.

Penguin Random House is the world’s largest publisher, Simon & Schuster the fourth largest. The government’s thesis is that the combination would reduce advances for top-selling authors and ultimately hurt consumers by fewer books being published. Stephen King criticizes Simon & Schuster deal in antitrust proceedings

Charles Jones

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