Bertelsmann swoops for Simon & Schuster in $2.2BN deal | Major Businesses | Business
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As part of the strategic review of non-core assets that the media giant began early in 2020, ViacomCBS has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Simon & Schuster publishing business to wholly-owned Bertelsmann subsidiary of Penguin Random House in a cash deal valued at $2.175 billion.
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Simon & Schuster employs around 1,500 people worldwide and generated revenues of $814 million in 2019. It publishes works from well-known authors and public figures including Hillary Clinton, John Irving, Stephen King, and Bob Woodward. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close during 2021. Bertelsmann will pay the purchase price in cash from existing liquid funds and Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under the Penguin Random House umbrella.

“Following the full acquisition of Penguin Random House in April this year, this purchase marks another strategic milestone in strengthening our global content businesses, which include Penguin Random House, the Fremantle TV production business, and the BMG music division,” said Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe commenting on the deal. “The book business has been part of Bertelsmann’s identity since the founding of C. Bertelsmann Verlag more than 185 years ago and has lost none of its appeal to this day. Bertelsmann continues to be one of the world’s leading creative companies with annual investments in content of around €6 billion.”

ViacomCBS says proceeds from the transaction will be used to invest in strategic growth priorities, including its forthcoming streaming business, as well as to fund the dividend and pay down debt.