UPDATE 1-EU regulators to approve Random House, Penguin deal - sources

Wed Mar 27, 2013 6:11am EDT

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, March 27 (Reuters) - Bertelsmann and Pearson are set to win unconditional EU regulatory approval for a plan to merge their publishers Random House and Penguin, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media group, and British publisher Pearson announced the deal in October to strengthen their bargaining power against Amazon and Apple, especially in the fast-growing e-book market.

"The companies have not provided concessions," one of the sources said. Companies typically do not offer concessions if regulators do not see any anti-competitive effects resulting from mergers.

The spokesman for competition policy at the European Commission, Antoine Colombani, declined to comment. The EU competition authority has set an April 5 deadline for its decision.

Regulators in the United States and New Zealand have already cleared the deal. China, Canada and the Austrian media watchdog are also examining the proposed merger.

Random House, the biggest book publisher in the United States and Britain, has been buoyed by the success of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy of novels. Penguin is the No. 2 player in the United States and third in Britain.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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