ViacomCBS announced Wednesday, November 25, that it would sell publishing company Simon & Schuster to Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House in a deal worth nearly US$2.18 billion.
The deal comes after ViacomCBS put the global publisher up for auction, a move it made to divest non core assets from its company, reported The Financial Times. Proceeds from the deal will be put toward ViacomCBS’ streaming business, fund its dividend, and pay down debt. The company also recently sold CNET for US$500 million as part of this strategy.
With Simon & Schuster as part of the company, Bertelsmann’s publishing empire will account for about a third of all books sold in the US. The deal would put some of the world’s bestselling authors including John Grisham, Bob Woodward, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Stephen King under the same corporate umbrella.
Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under Penguin Random House. Jonathan Karp, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, alongside Dennis Eulau, who acts as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for the company, will continue to helm the publishing company.