Bertelsmann Buys 100% of Random House Mondadori

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

Following the announcement of the proposed merger of Penguin and Random House, Bertelsmann has bought out the remaining shares of its joint venture with Italy’s Mondadori. The move signals the company’s new priority on developing the Spanish-language markets in Latin America.

The press release follows:

Gütersloh/Barcelona, November 5, 2012 – Bertelsmann’s leading trade book publishing group Random House will now own 100 percent of the shares in Random House Mondadori, its trade book publisher in Spain and Latin America. Random House Mondadori was formed as a 50/50 joint venture in 2001 by Random House and Mondadori. In a transaction signed today, Bertelsmann has agreed to purchase Mondadori’s equity stake in the Barcelona-based publisher on behalf of Random House. The agreement, which is subject to approval by Spanish Anti-Trust authorities, is expected to close before year-end. The corporate name of Random House Mondadori will be retained for the present, and will be changed in the near future to reflect its new ownership structure.

Thomas Rabe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bertelsmann, said, “Bertelsmann believes in the creative and commercial potential of the book business and, by maximizing its holding in Random House Mondadori, is embracing an opportunity to significantly improve both its position in the Spanish book market and its access to the growing Spanish-language markets of Latin America. We are very grateful to Mondadori for our longstanding and successful partnership.”

Núria Cabutí, who has been with Random House Mondadori and its predecessor company Plaza & Janés for the past two decades in publishing, marketing, and publicity capacities, continues as Chief Executive Officer, the position she has held since January 2010. The local organizational structures in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Uruguay under Cabutí, and the editorial identities of the respective publishing programs will be maintained, with a renewed commitment to bring its authors’ books to the widest possible readership around the world.

Random House Mondadori’s divisions publish adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction in print hardcover, trade and mass market paperback, and e-book formats with such imprints as Plaza & Janés, Grijalbo, Lumen, Mondadori, Debate, Sudamericana, Montena, Beascoa y Rosa dels vents, among others. Spanish and international literary authors will continue to be published under the Mondadori imprint.

The company’s biggest-selling titles of 2012 have been the “Fifty Shades” trilogy by E L James; Ken Follett’s “Invierno del Mundo;” “Las leyes de la frontera” by Javier Cercas; “Pensar rápido, pensar despacio” by Daniel Kahneman; and “La tabla esmeralda” by Carla Montero. Among its unrivalled roster of Spanish-language and international authors are Ildefonso Falcones, Julia Navarro, Albert Espinosa, Isabel Allende, John Grisham, Quino, Umberto Eco, Paul Preston, and many Nobel laureates such as Gabriel García Márquez, J.M. Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, V.S. Naipaul, and Doris Lessing.

Markus Dohle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Random House worldwide, observed, “Mondadori is one of the world’s great publishers, and I thank Maurizio Costa and his team for their enormously productive partnership these past eleven years. Together we have helped our Spanish colleagues build Random House Mondadori as a publisher that has become an undeniable commercial and cultural force in Spain and Latin America, and internationally. Now, Random House will continue to provide our Spanish company with the creative, financial, and technological resources to grow as a print publisher and become a leading Spanish-language e-book publisher. Núria Cabutí has instilled a corporate culture and standard of excellence at Random House Mondadori that is a perfect foundation for achieving this.”

Núria Cabutí said, “I want to thank Maurizio Costa and my predecessor Riccardo Cavallero for helping make the company a powerful force in Spanish publishing in Spain and Latin America, and for their tremendous support of the local management teams. It has been a privilege to draw upon Mondadori’s expertise and deep knowledge of the publishing market.” Cabutí added, “As part of Random House worldwide and with the group’s unwavering commitment to Spanish-language publishing, our company will continue as the publisher of choice in Spain and Latin America.”

Also continuing as a priority under Random House’s full ownership will be the joint venture between Random House Mondadori and the Knopf Doubleday Group division of Random House, Inc., which has helped the latter’s Vintage Español imprint grow to become the leading publisher of Spanish-language trade books in the U.S.

Random House Mondadori will become part of the future new partnership announced by Bertelsmann and Pearson on October 29, which will combine the English- and Spanish-language trade publishing divisions and imprints of Random House and Penguin worldwide. The new company, whose corporate name will be Penguin Random House and which is subject to regulatory approvals from a number of authorities around the world, including in North America and Europe,  is expected to take place in the second half of 2013.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.