Britain’s competition regulator is investigating Penguin Random House’s $2.2bn ($1.6bn) takeover of Simon & Schuster.
The Competition and Markets Authority said it would consider whether the deal would lead to a “substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”.
The CMA said it informed the publishers on 19 March that it would carry out a initial investigation. The regulator will decide by 19 May whether to refer the takeover for a full phase 2 inquiry.
The purchase from ViacomCBS, agreed in November, would solidify PRH’s position as the world’s biggest book publisher. PRH is owned by Germany’s Bertelsmnann, which outbid Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for the publisher of Dan Brown and Stephen King.
PRH publishes about 15,000 books a year and Simon & Schuster, founded in New York 97 years ago, produces about 2,000. In the US a group of writers’ groups has urged the Department of Justice to block the deal.