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NYT: 2 Big Book and Magazine Printers Face Suit to Block Their Merger


The printed page has seen better days.

To improve their chances in a struggling industry, two of the largest companies in the business of printing and distributing magazines, books and catalogs last year agreed to a merger deal that was expected to close in the next few months.

Not so fast, the Justice Department said.

In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Chicago, the Justice Department asked for a halt to Quad/Graphics’s planned $1.4 billion purchase of LSC Communications. Lawyers in the department’s antitrust division argued that the merger would decrease competition and drive up prices.

Quad publishes every Condé Nast title, including The New Yorker and Vogue, most publications from Hearst Magazines, including O: The Oprah Magazine, and Scholastic books. LSC Communications publishes two magazines from AARP that claim to have the largest circulations in the world, Penguin Random House books and more.

Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general in charge of antitrust, said in a statement that a combination of Quad and LSC Communications would “raise prices and reduce quality at the expense of publishers, retailers and, ultimately, American consumers.”

In its attempt to block the deal, the Justice Department had two allies from the community of writers: The Authors Guild and PEN America. “The lack of competition among book printers has already caused a bottleneck and increased publishing costs, and a merger between these two companies could exacerbate this situation by creating a monopoly,” the Authors Guild said in a statement in March.

That same month, the Authors Guild and PEN America joined the Open Markets Institute, an antitrust think tank based in Washington, in sending a letter to the Justice Department recommending that the merger be blocked.

It was imperative that the government act, the letter said, because magazines and books “are fundamental to the ability of citizens to freely express and share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and works of art.”

Read the full article on The New York Times here. 

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In America today, wealth and political power are more concentrated than at any point in our country’s history.

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