Bertelsmann's $2.2bn deal for S&S cleared by CMA after investigation

Bertelsmann's $2.2bn deal for S&S cleared by CMA after investigation

The UK's Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared Penguin Random House owner Bertelsmann's acquisition of Simon & Schuster after carrying out an investigation. 

Last November, Bertelsmann announced it had reached a $2.2bn deal to buy Simon & Schuster (S&S) from ViacomCBS. The merger would see S&S continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under the Penguin Random House (PRH) umbrella. 

On 22nd March, the CMA, the UK's competition watchdog, announced it would examine whether the deal fell under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and whether it “may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services”. 

Today, (12th May), the CMA announced it had cleared the anticipated acquisition by PRH of S&S. The full text of the decision will be published shortly. 

The deal is still facing further scrutiny by the US Department of Justice. The DoJ was urged by American writers' groups to intervene and stepped up its own review, making a “second request” for information.

Second requests often involve issuing a subpoena, called a Civil Investigative Demand, to obtain market share information and documents on markets and the transaction's competitive implications.

A spokesperson for PRH UK said: “We’re pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority has cleared Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster in the UK. The process in the US is ongoing and we are working constructively with the authorities there.”