Publishers Penguin and Random House have officially merged into one entity known as Penguin Random House (not, as many had hoped, "Random Penguin" or "Penguin House"). The deal "creates the world's largest publisher of consumer books," according to The Associated Press. Parent companies Pearson and Bertelsmann, which announced the news Monday morning, said the new, New York-based company will employ some 10,000 people and comprise nearly 250 imprints. Penguin CEO John Makinson will be chairman. In the CEO's seat will be Markus Dohle, formerly the chairman and CEO of Random House.
It was not so many months ago, in October of last year, when we learned that publishers Random House and Penguin would merge, per their parent companies Bertelsmann and Pearson. Today it appears that the merger is on schedule, and may even happen more quickly than anticipated, reports Crain's Matthew Flamm: An internal memo went out to Penguin staffers Friday morning in which Penguin Group CEO John Makinson said the merger will close early in the second half of the year. So, soon!
Penguin held its Halloween party at its Soho headquarters the Friday before Sandy in an atmosphere of foreboding. Weather reports were forecasting a destructive path for the hurricane, but the employees were preoccupied by another impending storm. Dressed in their ghoulish costumes, they whispered about a takeover by rivals at Random House.
Within publishing, rumors that the companies might join forces felt like news of a merger between the Yankees and Red Sox.
Two of the world's biggest publishing houses are to link up in a deal that will bring the writings of classics like George Orwell's "1984" and this year's literary phenomenon "Fifty Shades of Grey" under one umbrella.
Confirmation that Pearson will merge its Penguin Books division with Random House, which is owned by German media company Bertelsmann, will create the world's largest publisher of consumer books, with around a quarter of the market.
Earlier this summer, Penguin Group, long a distinguished major publisher of books, paid $116 million to acquire Author Solutions Inc. A leading provider of self-publishing services, Author Solutions said that since it was formed in 2007, "it has enabled 150,000 authors to publish, market and distribute more than 190,000 books in print and electronic formats." The transaction is a significant breakthrough in what has become a vital factor in the publishing landscape of the digital age.
In a bid to take a leading position in the growing self-publishing market, Penguin has acquired self-publishing platform Author Solutions from Bertram Capital, a San Mateo, Calif.-based venture-capital and private-equity firm, for $116 million.
The acquisition comes less than a year after Penguin launched its own self-publishing platform, Book Country, and at a time when self-publishing firms are jockeying for favor with authors by offering new features and lower prices. A company statement about the acquisition did not mention Book Country.