Penguin Random House is set to buy Simon & Schuster, according to multiple reports. The purchase of one mega-publisher by another will surely change the publishing landscape as we know it.
ViacomCBS, which owns Simon & Schuster, has agreed to sell the company in a $2 billion deal, according to The New York Times. Penguin Random House — a publishing giant that is the result of a merger of Penguin Group and Random House in 2013 — is the largest book publisher in the United States, according to the Times. The deal further cements Penguin Random House’s hold on the publishing industry.
Simon & Schuster is expected to remain editorially independent from Penguin Random House, according to a Times interview with Jonathan Karp, the company’s chief operating officer. Karp also said the publishing house would produce “the same volume of books” despite the acquisition.
“From these transformations we have adjusted to new management, welcomed other companies into our fold, and always emerged stronger, with an enduring commitment to excellence in book publishing,” Karp wrote in a memo to Simon & Schuster employees, according to CNN. “When we join Penguin Random House after closing, we can look forward to benefitting from exciting new relationships and opportunities that will enhance our ability to provide authors with the best possible publication they can receive.”
With the purchase of Simon & Schuster, the industry sees the fall of another publishing titan. Often referred to as “The Big Five,” publishing houses Penguin Random House, Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan are the biggest publishers in the United States, even some of the largest publishers in the world. Being published by a major publishing house is often at the top of every prospective author’s wishlist. In light of the news, many are already referring to the major publishing houses as “The Big Four.”