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‘This must be stopped’: US begins court battle against publishing giants’ merger

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The government and publishing titan Penguin Random House exchanged opening salvos in a federal antitrust trial Monday as the US seeks to block the biggest US book publisher from absorbing rival Simon & Schuster.

The case will be a pivotal test of the Biden administration’s antitrust policy.The justice department has sued to block the $2.2bn merger, which would reduce the Big Five US publishers to four.“This proposed merger must be stopped,” John Read, the justice department’s attorney, said in his opening argument.In an unusual move, the government’s star witness will be Stephen King, the renowned and genre-transcending author whose works are published by Simon & Schuster.

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