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F&N's Times Publishing gets nod to buy Penguin units on anti-discrimination pledge

FRASER and Neave's (F&N) Times Publishing has been granted conditional approval from the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) to acquire Penguin Random House Pte Ltd and Penguin Books Malaysia from Penguin Random House, after pledging no discrimination against book retailers.

In an announcement on Monday, CCS said Times Publishing has committed to supply third-party retailers the full range of books by Penguin on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis". This will be applied during the period of exclusive distribution between the two Penguin units, and the Penguin publishers.

Times Publishing, which planned to buy the Penguin units for S$8 million, is also expected to apply the same distributor recommended retail price to all retailers and apply discounts to retailers in the same manner, based on a set of "objective discount criteria".

An independent auditor will be appointed by Times Publishing to monitor compliance with the commitments.

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F&N said in a regulatory filing that Times Publishing "will continue working towards completing the proposed acquisition".