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Credit…Erik Tanner for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Madeline McIntosh, chief executive of Penguin Random House US, spoke out Monday to defend her bid to buy rival publishing house Simon & Schuster.

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

The slice of the market the government has focused on is books that earn advances of $250,000 or more, which it has called “advanced best-selling books.” He says the five biggest publishers in the country – including Penguin Random House, the biggest; and Simon & Schuster, the fourth largest, primarily compete to buy these titles, and if the number of publishers were to decrease, competition would also decrease.

Penguin Random House argued that the industry is large and varied, extending far beyond its main players, and that the government has focused on a small number of deals, in which Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster are the latest bidders for these expensive books. The company also said the “best-selling books” category the government has focused on does not exist as a separate segment of the market.

Ms McIntosh said publisher intuition dictated which books were acquired and how much authors earned up front.

“These are not widgets that we produce,” Ms. McIntosh said. “Assessment is a highly subjective process.”

Jonathan Karp, the chief executive of Simon & Schuster, said this month that while the Big Five tend to compete most on the “high end”, and their marketing and advertising strength gives them an edge when it’s about attracting authors, Simon & Schuster is losing books to small businesses like WW Norton.

Markus Dohle, managing director of Penguin Random House worldwide, said this month that the books on which the government’s argument focuses do not fall into a special category: he said. Indeed, the sales force is not even informed of the advance that an author is paid.

Dohle also said 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. Ms. McIntosh’s approval is required for any advance over $1 million and Mr. Dohle’s approval for any advance over $2 million. He said he never turned down such a request.

Penguin Random House is allowed by its parent company, Bertelsmann, to spend as much as it wants each year on book acquisitions, Dohle said: “We have unlimited access to money,” he said. -he declares.

He does, however, need permission from Bertelsmann at a certain level upfront: $75 million. But Mr. Dohle said he never had to ask Bertelsmann for that approval. Even Barack and Michelle Obama’s joint memoir deal, which was for a record $65 million, fell below the threshold.