This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 01/01/2022 at 07:49:48 (UTC).

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. BERTELSMANN SE & CO. KGAA et al

Case Summary

On November 2, 2021, the United States of America (“Plaintiff”), represented by John R. Read and Sarah Heideman Licht of the U.S. Department of Justice, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Bertelsmann S.E. & Co, Penguin Random House, LLC, Viacom CBS, Inc., Simon & Schuster, Inc., (collectively, “Defendants”), seeking injunctive reliefs and declaratory beliefs along with costs among other reliefs for alleged violations of the United States antitrust laws. This case was filed in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia.

 

In the complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that, “The United States of America brings this civil action to stop Penguin Random House, LLC—the world’s largest book publisher—from buying its publishing rival, Simon & Schuster, Inc. If Defendants’ proposed merger is allowed to proceed, Penguin Random House would be, by far, the largest book publisher in the United States, towering over its rivals. The merger would give Penguin Random House outsized influence over who and what is published, and how much authors are paid for their work. The deal, which was arranged by the two publishers’ parent companies, Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, (“Bertelsmann”) and ViacomCBS, Inc. (“ViacomCBS”), would likely harm competition in the publishing industry and should be blocked.”

 

The Plaintiff further alleged that, “Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster would result in substantial harm to authors, particularly authors of anticipated top-selling books. Today, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster compete vigorously to acquire publishing rights from authors and provide publishing services to those authors. This competition has resulted in authors earning more for their publishing rights in the form of advances (i.e., upfront payments made to authors for the rights to publish their works), and receiving better editorial, marketing, and other services that are critical to the success of their books. In 2020 alone, publishers paid authors over $1 billion in advances. Authors rely on these advances to fund their writing and pay their bills.”

 

The Plaintiff also alleged that, “If consummated, this merger would likely result in substantial harm to authors of anticipated top-selling books and ultimately, consumers. Penguin Random House would control close to half of the market for the acquisition of publishing rights to anticipated top selling books. Penguin Random House’s next largest competitor would be less than half its size. Post-merger, the two largest publishers would collectively control more than two-thirds of this market, leaving hundreds of authors with fewer alternatives and less leverage.”

 

There is one claim for relief laid down by the Plaintiff for the alleged violation of Section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 18. If allowed to proceed, Penguin Random House’s proposed acquisition of Simon & Schuster would eliminate competition between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster and would likely lessen competition substantially in the markets for content acquisition in the United States.

 

In the prayer for relief, the Plaintiff requested the Court for declaratory reliefs and injunctive reliefs along with the cost of this action and any other relief the Court deem just and proper.

 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    1:21-CV-02886

  • Filing Date:

    11/02/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Antitrust

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

Florence Y. Pan

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Defendants

BERTELSMANN SE & CO. KGAA

PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, LLC

VIACOMCBS INC.

SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

John R. Read

Attorney at U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

450 Fifth Street, Nw

Washington, DC 20530

Sarah Heideman Licht

Attorney at U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

450 Fifth St., Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

Bennett Jorg Matelson

Attorney at U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

450 Fifth Street, Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

Collier Taylor Kelley

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 5Th St. Nw

Washington, DC 20530

Ethan Dean Stevenson

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 5Th St. Nwsuite 4000 South

Washington, DC 20001

Ihan Kim

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 Fifth Street, Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

January Kim

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 Fifth Street Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

Jeffrey Grant Vernon

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 Fifth Street, Nwste 4010

Washington Dc, DC 20530

Jessica Leal

Attorney at DOJ-Atr

450 Fifth Street, Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

Jonathan Scott Goldsmith

Attorney at DOJ-ATR

450 Fifth Street Nwsuite 4000

Washington, DC 20530

Defendant Attorneys

Courtney B. Dyer

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

1625 Eye Street, Nw

Washington, DC 20006

Daniel M. Petrocelli

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

1999 Avenue Of The Stars8Th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90067

Jonathan D. Hacker

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

1625 Eye Street, Nw

Washington, DC 20006

Abby Rudzin

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

7 Times Squaretimes Square Tower

New York, NY 10036

Andrew J. Frackman

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

7 Times Square Tower7 Times Square

New York, NY 10036

Christopher Hunt

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS

2501 North Harwood Streetsuite 1700

Dallas, TX 75201-1663

Deborah L Feinstein

Attorney at ARNOLD & PORTER KAYE SCHOLAR LLLP

601 Massachusetts Avenue Nw20001

Washington, DC 20001

Eamonn Campbell

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

7 Times Squaretimes Square Tower

New York, NY 10036

Jason C. Ewart

Attorney at ARNOLD & PORTER

601 Massachusetts Ave, Nw

Washington, DC 20001

Julia Schiller

Attorney at O'MELVENY & MYERS LLP

1625 Eye Street, Nw

Washington, DC 20006

9 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

#53

(#53) CASE MANAGEMENT AND SCHEDULING ORDER. Signed by Judge Florence Y. Pan on 12/15/21. (lcaa) (Entered: 12/15/2021)

#52

(#52) ANSWER to Complaint by BERTELSMANN SE & CO. KGAA, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, LLC, SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., VIACOMCBS INC..(Petrocelli, Daniel) (Entered: 12/13/2021)

#51

(#51) NOTICE of Appearance by January Kim on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kim, January) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#50

(#50) NOTICE of Appearance by Jonathan Scott Goldsmith on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Goldsmith, Jonathan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#49

(#49) NOTICE of Appearance by Ihan Kim on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kim, Ihan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#48

(#48) NOTICE of Appearance by Ethan Dean Stevenson on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Stevenson, Ethan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

#47

(#47) NOTICE of Appearance by Collier Taylor Kelley on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kelley, Collier) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

46 #1

Text of Proposed Order Joint Proposed Scheduling and Case Management Order

46 #46

Main Document

3 #3

Main Document

2 #1

Civil Cover Sheet

2 #2

Main Document

1 #5

Summons

1 #4

Summons

1 #3

Summons

1 #2

Summons

1 #1

Civil Cover Sheet

1 #1

Main Document

86 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 12/15/2021
  • DocketSet/Reset Deadlines: Answer to Complaint due by 12/14/2021. Witness List due by 3/18/2022. Discovery due by 4/15/2022. Initial Expert Report(s) due by 4/20/2022. Rebuttal Expert Report(s) to the initial Expert Report(s) due by 5/20/2022. Reply Expert Report(s) to the initial Expert Report(s) due by 6/9/2022. Exhibit List due by 6/15/2022. Expert Discovery due by 6/21/2022. Expert reports with executive summaries due by 7/8/2022. Motions in limine due by 7/8/2022. Opposition to motions in limine due by 7/13/2022. Replies in support of motions in limine due by 7/15/2022. Pretrial Briefs due by 7/15/2022. Joint Pretrial Statement due by 7/15/2022. (zacr) (Entered: 12/16/2021)

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  • 12/15/2021
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  • Docket(#53) CASE MANAGEMENT AND SCHEDULING ORDER. Signed by Judge Florence Y. Pan on 12/15/21. (lcaa) (Entered: 12/15/2021)

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  • 12/14/2021
  • DocketMinute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Florence Y. Pan: Status Conference held via videoconference on 12/14/2021. Parties discussed the Proposed Scheduling Order and trial details. Scheduling Order forthcoming from Chambers. Next Status Conference set for 2/10/2022 at 2:00 PM via videoconference before Judge Florence Y. Pan. (Court Reporter Cathryn Jones.) (zacr) (Entered: 12/14/2021)

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  • 12/13/2021
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  • Docket(#52) ANSWER to Complaint by BERTELSMANN SE & CO. KGAA, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, LLC, SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., VIACOMCBS INC..(Petrocelli, Daniel) (Entered: 12/13/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#51) NOTICE of Appearance by January Kim on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kim, January) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#50) NOTICE of Appearance by Jonathan Scott Goldsmith on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Goldsmith, Jonathan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#49) NOTICE of Appearance by Ihan Kim on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kim, Ihan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#48) NOTICE of Appearance by Ethan Dean Stevenson on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Stevenson, Ethan) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/09/2021
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  • Docket(#47) NOTICE of Appearance by Collier Taylor Kelley on behalf of UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (Kelley, Collier) (Entered: 12/09/2021)

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  • 12/08/2021
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  • Docket(#46) Joint MOTION for Scheduling Order by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: #1 Text of Proposed Order Joint Proposed Scheduling and Case Management Order)(Read, John) (Entered: 12/08/2021)

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49 More Docket Entries
  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#8) MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice :Attorney Name- Stephen R. Fishbein, Filing fee $ 100, receipt number ADCDC-8853344. Fee Status: Fee Paid. by SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., VIACOMCBS INC.. (Attachments: #1 Declaration, #2 Proposed Order)(Shores, Ryan) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#7) LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC. (Shores, Ryan) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#6) LCvR 26.1 CERTIFICATE OF DISCLOSURE of Corporate Affiliations and Financial Interests by VIACOMCBS INC. (Shores, Ryan) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#5) NOTICE of Appearance by Ryan A. Shores on behalf of SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., VIACOMCBS INC. (Shores, Ryan) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/08/2021
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  • Docket(#4) STANDING ORDER: The parties are hereby ORDERED to comply with the directives set forth in the attached Standing Order. See document for details. Signed by Judge Florence Y. Pan on 11/8/21. (lcaa) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
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  • Docket(#3) SUMMONS (4) Issued Electronically as to BERTELSMANN SE & CO. KGAA, PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE, LLC, SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., VIACOMCBS INC.. (Attachments: #1 Notice and Consent)(adh, ) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/04/2021
  • DocketCase Assigned to Judge Florence Y. Pan. (zsb) (Entered: 11/04/2021)

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  • 11/02/2021
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  • Docket(#2) ERRATA by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA re #1 Complaint filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet)(Read, John) (Entered: 11/02/2021)

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  • 11/02/2021
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  • DocketNOTICE OF ERROR re #1 Complaint; emailed to sarah.licht@usdoj.gov, cc'd 7 associated attorneys -- The PDF file you docketed contained errors: 1. No signature. Please file the signed document using the event Errata. All filings must have an original signature or '/s/ Attorney Name' to represent an electronic signature of the filer., 2. Signature on complaint and civil cover sheet does not match e-filer., 3. COMPLIANCE DEADLINE is by close of business today. This case will not proceed any further until all errors are satisfied. (zsb, ) (Entered: 11/02/2021)

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  • 11/02/2021
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT against All Defendants (Fee Status:Filing Fee Waived) filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: #1 Civil Cover Sheet, #2 Summons, #3 Summons, #4 Summons, #5 Summons)(Licht, Sarah) (Entered: 11/02/2021)

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