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ANALYSIS: DOJ Suit to Block Penguin Deal Looks for Harm Upstream

Nov. 19, 2021, 10:00 AM

The Justice Department’s lawsuit to block the proposed $2.17 billion merger of blockbuster publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster is getting some attention as a harbinger of a new approach to merger control. Because the case looks for damage from the merger upstream, to the advances paid to aspiring authors, rather than downstream, to the prices consumers will pay for books, some observers reason that the DOJ is demonstrating less fealty to the “consumer welfare standard” in antitrust enforcement.

But to my mind, the case is part of a long tradition rather than a break in form. While ...

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