United States v. Bertelsmann Se & Co. KGaA et al.


A U.S. district court judge blocked the proposed $2.18 billion merger between two publishing companies.

Retained by the Department of Justice

The Department of Justice (DOJ) challenged the planned $2.18 billion merger between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, claiming that it would harm competition in the marketplace and hurt authors of top-selling books. The DOJ retained Cornerstone Research to support Christine Hammer, CPA.

Ms. Hammer analyzed the defendants’ claimed efficiencies to determine if they were cognizable as described in the Horizontal Merger Guidelines. Her assessment included evaluating whether the efficiencies were merger-specific, could be verified, and whether those savings would likely result in a reduction in output or service.

Ms. Hammer rebutted the merging parties’ economic expert, who evaluated the claimed efficiencies and pass through. After Ms. Hammer testified in deposition, the DOJ succeeded in its motion to preclude the parties’ expert from testifying on efficiencies.

Following a three-week bench trial in U.S. district court, the judge issued an order in October 2022 stating the deal would substantially lessen competition and blocked the merger.

For more information, contact Kostis Hatzitaskos or Russell Molter. Other team members involved in this matter include Alex Vasaly.

Case Expert

Christine M. Hammer

Certified Public Accountant;
Senior Advisor, Cornerstone Research