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Stephen King going to bat for U.S. gov’t in case against book publishing mega-merger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department asked a federal judge on Monday to block a $2.2 billion merger of two of the “Big Five” book publishers, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, in a trial that is expected to feature testimony from horror writer Stephen King. Also on Monday, in the same federal courthouse in Washington, the Justice Department argued before a different judge that UnitedHealth Group’s $8 billion deal to buy Change Healthcare should be stopped. In the publisher merger trial, the government is focused not on what consumers pay for books but on advances paid to the most successful authors, especially those given $250,000 or more.

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