Bertelsmann is acquiring full ownership of Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade publishing group.
Bertelsmann, also the parent company for BMG, will acquire the remaining 25% stake in Penguin Random House now held by its British co-shareholder Pearson, increasing its stake in the company to 100 percent. The purchase price for the share package is $675 million, and the transaction is expected to close in the 2nd quarter of 2020. Germany’s Verlagsgruppe Random House, which is wholly owned by Bertelsmann, will become part of Penguin Random House. Once the sale is approved, the New York-based book publishing group will include more than 300 individual publishing imprints on six continents.
“The increase to 100 percent is a milestone for Bertelsmann,” said Thomas Rabe, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Penguin Random House. “We will become the sole owner of the world’s biggest trade publishing group, which sets standards with its creative diversity, global marketing power, and commercial strength. We will continue to expand Penguin Random House in the coming years, through organic growth and acquisitions. The book business is part of Bertelsmann’s identity. For us and our shareholders, the transaction is commercially attractive, as the share of Bertelsmann’s shareholders in group profit will increase by more than €70 million per year.”
Bertelsmann and Pearson had originally combined their respective Random House and Penguin Group book-publishing businesses in 2013. Bertelsmann initially held 53 percent of the new company Penguin Random House, and Pearson 47 percent. In 2017, Bertelsmann increased its stake to 75 percent. In 2018, 481 Penguin Random House titles made the “New York Times” bestseller lists, 69 of them rising to number one.
Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House and a member of the Bertelsmann Executive Board, said, “The full acquisition of Penguin Random House is a testament to Bertelsmann’s belief in the future of books and reading, as well as their trust in our colleagues around the world to be able to grow our company over the next several years. We are extremely well positioned to continue to take advantage of both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities in existing and new markets globally. I’m personally very excited to welcome the colleagues and authors of Germany’s Verlagsgruppe Random House into our global community of publishing imprints at Penguin Random House. With Bertelsmann bringing all of us together, we will further enhance our shared strengths.”
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