Planned merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster publishers scrapped

Simon & Schusters corporate parent has officially ended the agreement for Penguin Random House to purchase the publisher in a $US2.2billion ($3.3 billion) proposed sale blocked by a federal judge last month.Paramount Global also announced on Monday that it still planned to sell Simon & Schuster, a nearly century-old company boasting authors such as Stephen King, Colleen Hoover and Bob Woodward.Simon & Schuster has had a strong 2022 so far, thanks in part to bestsellers by Hoover and King, who had opposed the merger and even testified on behalf of the government during the antitrust trial.Simon & Schuster remains a non-core asset to Paramount, as was determined in early 2020 when Paramount conducted a strategic review of its assets, Paramount said.Simon & Schuster is a highly valuable business with a recent record of strong performance, however it is not video based and therefore does not fit strategically within Paramounts broader portfolio.Penguin Random House owes a $US200 million termination fee to Paramount, according to the agreements original terms.Big publishers still interestedPenguin Random House is owned by the German conglomerate Bertelsmann.Other members of book publishings so-called Big Five — Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishing, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan — may now try to buy Simon & Schuster.HarperCollins was previously among the losing bidders. And during the trial, Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch also expressed interest

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