Simon & Schuster might be sold sometime this year, the publisher acknowledged that it had received some stabstancial offers. One of the front-runners is Amazon, who insiders say would be better suited to own it, than anyone else.
S&S is apart of the big 5 publishing companies, and it looks like the company that owns them, is not very interested in keeping them around, if they receive a big offer. Macmillan is owned by Holtzbrink, Hachette is owned by Legardere Publishing, HarperCollins is almost three times the size of S&S and Penguin Random House accounts for 1/4 of all books published.
ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told investors Wednesday that the company is taking a hard look at all operations. Simon & Schuster has generated inquiries from prospective buyers quite recently, Bakish said during a Q&A held as part of Morgan Stanley’s annual investor conference in San Francisco.
Simon & Schuster “is not a core asset. It is not video-based. It does not have significant connection for our broader business,” Bakish said. “We have had multiple unsolicited inbound calls about that asset, and so as the market stabilizes, we are going to engage in a process” to examine strategic alternatives. ViacomCBS said publishing revenue in 2019 came to $814 million, down 1.3% from $825 million in the prior year.
Since merging in late 2019, ViacomCBS has examined whether all of its businesses fit well as the company places more emphasis on streaming video and reaching TV viewers in new ways. Already, the company is working to sell Black Rock, the Eero Saarien-designed skyscraper that served as headquarters to CBS Corp. since opening in 1965. Baskish said the company is in talks with “a set of blue-chip buyers who are engaged in the process,” which he expects to wrap this year. Research firm MoffettNathanson has pegged the value of Simon & Schuster at $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
Simon and Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy said in an email to employees “Whatever the outcome, this process does not change what we know to be true of Simon & Schuster,” Reidy wrote. “We are a great publishing house and one of the world’s best known publishing brands, with an incredible legacy and bright future. We have a tremendous track record of producing best sellers in every category and format, and for readers of every age. We have a history of strong and long lasting relationships with our authors, and we will continue to bring important voices to readers around the world, both with our current publishing and our rich backlist of perennially favorite titles.”
Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon and M. Lincoln Schuster. Its portfolio includes 17 adult imprints, 11 children’s imprints, two audio publishing imprints, four international branches—in Australia, Canada, India, and the U.K.—and a growing distribution business whose clients include Andrews McMeel, Boom! Studios, Kaplan Publishing, Viz Media, and more.
I believe that all of the other big 5 publishers would not reasonably purchase S&S without reletory permission and anti-competitive investigations. These investigations would have to transpire in every market where S&S sells books, Amazon only owns their own imprints, which they started from scratch.
Amazon could be considered the front-runner, they have a copious amount of money that can can spend on such a venture and it would basically reduce the costs of selling hardcovers, paperbacks, ebooks and audiobooks for the consumer.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.