By Alex Mutter
Pearson and Bertelsmann are in talks over a potential merger of Penguin and Random House, The Bookseller reported today. If successful, the merger would constitute a seismic shift in the global publishing industry.
Penguin’s parent company confirmed in a statement that “it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.”
According to The Bookseller, Penguin and Random House together would account for approximately a quarter of the UK’s physical book market. Publishers Weekly came to the same conclusion for the US, where the combined companies would also command a 25% stake of the market.
The Financial Times, which first broke the story earlier today, reports that Bertelsmann may take a greater than fifty-percent stake should the merger go through, with John Makinson and Markus Dohle, chief executives of Penguin and Random House respectively, expected to retain “senior leadership roles.”