The US Department of Justice has provided an unexpected Valentine to Penguin and Random House: The department notified Bertelsmann and Pearson "that it has closed its investigation into the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House, without conditions," according to a statement from Penguin. The swift approval is remarkable, particularly since the DOJ took roughly nine months to sign off on the much smaller acquisition of Thomas Nelson by HarperCollins. (The merger deal was announced in October 2012.) That also makes the US the first country to approve the proposed merger. Review is still underway in Canada, at the European Commission, and with "various other antitrust authorities around the world." The companies say they "continue to expect the transaction to close in the second half of 2013, after all necessary approvals have been received."
Bertelsmann ceo Thomas Rabe says in a statement: We are very pleased that the U.S. Department Of Justice has concluded its review and made a determination to clear the planned combination of Random House and Penguin without any conditions. This positive first decision by one of the antitrust authorities is an important milestone on the path to uniting two of the world’s leading publishing companies into a truly global publishing group."