New York The large US publisher Simon & Schuster is said to belong to a financial investor in the future. The media giant Paramount agreed with the investment company KKR on a purchase price of 1.62 billion dollars (around 1.47 billion euros), as the companies announced on Monday. One of the well-known authors of Simon & Schuster is Stephen King.
Simon & Schuster was put up for sale in 2020. Initially, Penguin Random House, a competitor belonging to the Bertelsmann Group, wanted to take over the New York publishing house. But the $2.18 billion deal was prevented by US competition watchdogs with a successful lawsuit last fall. The sale to KKR still has to be approved by regulators. However, there should be less headwind than selling to a competitor.
KKR assured that Simon & Schuster will operate independently. In the US, the publishing house also plays an important role in publishing political books. Its authors include former Watergate investigator Bob Woodward, who recently wrote several critical bestsellers about Donald Trump.
KKR’s head of media operations, Richard Sarnoff, is no stranger to the book business: he was once a member of Random House management and was chairman of the US publishers’ association AAP. According to media reports, the race for Simon & Schuster included the man who belonged to Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, News Corp. owned competitor HarperCollins.
Paramount boss Bob Bakish emphasized on Monday that the group is focused on the production of films and video content – and that a publishing house is not part of its core business. Paramount intends to use the proceeds from the sale to reduce its debts. According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the group is also considering selling some cable TV stations in order to have more money for the further development of its video streaming service Paramount +.
Paramount+ competes with the industry leader Netflix and Disney’s streaming service, among others. The Paramount service now has around 61 million subscribers, up from 700,000 last quarter. The streaming platform posted an operating loss of $424 million, down from $445 million a year earlier.
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