The Chicago Journal

Penguin Random House merge with Paramount dropped


Penguin Random House is one of the oldest and best-known book publishers in the United States.

It initially planned to merge with Simon & Schuster, but Paramount recently canceled the deal.

Paramount also decided not to appeal the recent federal court decision blocking the publishers’ merger.

The news

Penguin Random House is a subsidiary of German media giant Bertelsmann.

According to a Paramount SEC filing, Penguin is required to pay the parent company of Simon & Schuster a $200 million penalty.

The $2.17 billion proposal was announced in November 2020.

Last month, US District Court Judge Florence Pan ruled that merging the book publishers would unlawfully restrict competition.

In 2021, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit to block the merger, one of the Biden administration’s first significant antitrust actions.

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Simon & Schuster

The parent company of Simon & Schuster says that it is still looking for buyers in a statement.

“Simon & Schuster is a highly valuable business with a recent record of strong performance,” they wrote.

“However, it is not video-based and therefore does not fit strategically within Paramount’s broader portfolio.”

Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster President and CEO Jonathan Karp wrote an email saying the news was still fresh.

“And at this point, I have no specific information to impart about what will happen in the coming months,” said Karp.

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The lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, the settlement would have given the merged company more control over how much its writers were compensated.

Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are currently among the prominent book publishers in the United States and members of the “Big Five.”

Additionally, the lawsuit argues that fewer bidders would be available for the highly anticipated books.

The lower the bidders, the greater the potential blow for authors seeking to have their work published.


Penguin Random House’s $2.2 billion deal for Simon & Schuster is over

How Ikaramu Founder Norbert Butare Is Promoting Education Amid a Crisis

When the COVID-19 pandemic spread in Rwanda, the country went into total lockdown. This meant students couldn’t go to school. Norbert Butare, a twenty-one-year-old Rwandan international student, realized the gap in the Rwandan education spectrum. He founded Ikaramu, which gives young writers, bloggers, and future authors a platform to write about their social, political, or economic perspectives in different ways.

The young visionary worked on the Ikaramu for two months before organizing a team of young Rwandans to help him run the platform, making sure it is user-friendly and helpful to all stakeholders. Ikaramu is a direct translation of the word pen from Kinyarwanda language. The internet has become the modern-day pen, and Norbert intends to use it to give youth in Rwanda a voice.

Norbert Butare’s passion for education is one of his strongest qualities. He came to the US in fall of 2018 to finish high school and is currently a sophomore at Florida International University in Miami, taking up international business. When he learned about the threat to education in his homeland, he knew he had to act quickly to help his fellow Rwandan youth get the learning that they deserved. He wanted to build an easily accessible and understandable online resource for young students to contribute to and learn from. Ikaramu gives young Rwandan writers a platform to express their writing creativity, connects peer-to-peer writers in an effort to improve idea sharing, and offers awards to top writers in competitions in the form of prize money, school fees, school materials, and many more.

Rwandan students were quick to contribute to the new platform. The website boasts of a growing repository of English and French think pieces, poems, essays, and stories pertaining to issues affecting the country. The platform has helped the youth make their voices known and showcase their writing ability.

Ikaramu currently hosts its platforms at its headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda, and its website. The team behind the platform recently rolled out its Android app and soon will be launching its iOS counterpart to make the platform more accessible and user-friendly to mobile users.

In its upcoming ventures, Ikaramu is also partnering with major Rwandan publishing companies in order to publish some of the Ikaramu contributors. Ikaramu is in the process of creating a writing competition that will offer scholarships and other similar education-oriented awards.

While the platform’s primary audience is Rwandan youth, Norbert also hopes to reach American audiences to help raise awareness about issues in the African continent. Ikaramu is also aiming to tap foreign investors and nonprofit organizations to partner with to further improve the platform. Ikaramu is the only one of its kind in Rwanda that is helping to cultivate the youths’ minds amid academic hurdles brought by the COVID-19 crisis.

Norbert hopes to promote gifted Rwandan authors who do not get the platforms they deserve. He considers them untapped potential that could potentially develop the country.

Ikaramu is aiming to be the biggest private literature hub in Rwanda, with several successful authors building their foundation on the platform.Read what Rwandan youths are discussing on the Ikaramu website.