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Credit…Erik Tanner for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Madeline McIntosh, CEO of Penguin Random House US, took the stand Monday to defend her takeover bid from rival publisher Simon & Schuster.

The Justice Department sued to stop the $2.18 billion takeover on antitrust grounds, and speaking in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, Ms. McIntosh disagreed with the government’s claim. that the combined publisher would become too dominant in a particular segment of the market.

The slice of the market the government has focused on is books that get advances of $250,000 or more, which it called “advance best sellers.” He says that the five largest publishers in the country, which include Penguin Random House, the largest; and Simon & Schuster, the fourth largest, mainly compete with each other to buy those titles, and if the number of publishers were to shrink, so would the competition.

Penguin Random House argued that the industry is vast and varied, stretching far beyond its major players, and that the government has targeted a small slice of deals, with Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster as the bidders. end of these expensive books. The company also said the “early bestseller” category that the government has targeted does not exist as a distinct segment of the market.

Ms. McIntosh said that publisher’s intuition drives book purchases and how much authors earn up front.

“These are not gadgets that we are producing,” said Ms. McIntosh. “Evaluation is a highly subjective process.”

Jonathan Karp, CEO of Simon & Schuster, testified this month that while the Big Five tend to compete more at the “high end,” and that their marketing and advertising strength gives them an edge when it comes to attracting authors, Simon & Schuster loses books to smaller firms like WW Norton.

Markus Dohle, chief executive of Penguin Random House worldwide, testified this month that the books at the center of the government’s argument do not belong to a special category: There are no special publishing, sales or marketing groups handling projects. with advance levels of more than $250,000, he said. In fact, the sales force isn’t even told how much of an advance an author is paid.

Mr. Dohle also testified that since the company’s most recent major merger, which brought together Penguin and Random House in 2013, the publisher has lost market share.

Mr. Dohle’s testimony also revealed details about the inner workings of Penguin Random House. Approval is required from Ms. McIntosh for any advance over $1 million, and from Mr. Dohle for any advance over $2 million. He said that he has never turned down such a request.

Its parent company, Bertelsmann, lets Penguin Random House spend as much as it wants each year on book purchases, Dohle said: “We have unlimited access to cash,” he said.

However, he needs Bertelsmann’s permission for a certain level of advance: $75 million. But Mr Dohle said he has never had to ask Bertelsmann for this approval. Even Barack and Michelle Obama’s joint memoir deal, which was for a record $65 million, fell below the threshold.

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