The Strategist

US publishers Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster to merge

11/26/2020 - 03:48

The largest American publishing house Penguin Random House is buying its competitor Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS media corporation for $2.2 billion.

Biswarup Ganguly
Biswarup Ganguly
This consolidates the American publishing industry even more: the already largest player on the market is merging with the third largest publishing house in the country.

Information that the parties are close to an agreement appeared yesterday, and in general ViacomCBS announced its intention to sell Simon & Schuster back in March, stating that it needed money to develop streaming video services. Another challenger was HarperCollins Publishers, the second-largest publishing house in the US market and owned by News Corp. billionaire Rupert Murdoch.

Simon & Schuster was founded in the 1920s and has published many bestsellers, including books by Stephen King and Dan Brown; this year's focus was on his memoirs of former national security advisor Donald Trump, John Bolton and the niece of President Mary Trump. Penguin Random House's revenue last year amounted to $814 million. 

The transaction is expected to be completed within 2021. However, it may attract the attention of antitrust regulators: according to NPD BookScan, Penguin Random House accounts for about 25% of all paper books sold in the United States, while Simon & Schuster accounts for more than 9% of the total market share. HarperCollins Publishers holds the second place with 11% of the books sold.