Publishing: Penguin Random House set to acquire Simon & Schuster

The publishing subsidiary of the German Bertelsmann is putting more than 2 billion dollars on the table to consolidate its rank as world leader.

The American writer and author of multiple bestsellers Stephen King is published by a house which is a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster in the United States.

ViacomCBS would have found the purchaser of its activities in the Simon & Schuster edition. , the American media group, in the process of refocusing on audiovisual, would have signed with Bertelmann, parent company of Penguin Random House, which would put on the table more than 2 billion dollars, which is clearly more than ViacomCBS hoped for (1 .2 billion).

In this operation, which has not yet been firmly concluded, Penguin Random House, which is already the number one publisher in the United States and in the world (3.6 billion euros in turnover for a market share estimated at a quarter of world sales), could strengthen its rank by taking around a third of book sales across the Atlantic. Simon & Schuster, number three on the American market, and Penguin Random House together publish bestsellers by Stephen King, Bob Woodward, Dan Brown and John Grisham.

Content factories for series

Revealed in March before the first confinement due to the health crisis, the process of putting Simon & Schuster up for sale (814 million dollars in turnover in 2019 for 143 million dollars in operating profit) was slowed down by circumstances. . But it has nonetheless aroused the greed of many suitors. In this case of all the world champions of publishing.

Bertelsmann, which came out of the woodwork last September, would win under the beard of two French publishing players, Hachette Livre (Lagardère), which generates 2.4 billion euros in turnover, and Editis (Vivendi, 750 million euros), and an American, HarperCollins (1.7 billion dollars), owned by News Corp, the media giant controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

The appetite is great for publishers who, thanks to an entertainment market dominated by the Netflix, Amazon or Disney platforms in search of original content, have become talent pools to feed their bulimia. of series production.

The publishing market is also generally showing – and this has been even clearer since the start of the current crisis – good resistance to the general drop in consumption. In the first half of 2020, the publishing branch of Bertelsmann thus posted stability at 1.6 billion euros in revenue, when Hachette Livre, present in France and the United States, fell only 8.3%, and Editis by 15%.

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