Only days ago, parties from both Pearson and Bertelsmann, the parent companies of Penguin and Random House respectively, were firmly stating that talks of a merger of the two publishers were only speculation at that point, but today the blending of the two companies has been confirmed by statements from the publishers.
While details are still vague, although the publishers promise complete transparency once they finalize all aspects of the deal, the companies did release a few key names of their higher positions and name how many seats on the new board of directors will go to which of the two imprints. They also stated that Bertelsmann will own 53% of the new company and have five seats on the board while Pearson will control 47% and have four.
“The combination brings together two of the world’s leading English language publishers, with highly complementary skills and strengths,” the parties announced in a joint statement. “Random House is the leading English language publisher in the US and the UK, while Penguin is the world’s most famous publishing brand and has a strong presence in fast-growing developing markets. Both companies have a long history of publishing excellence, and both have been pioneers in the dramatic industry transformation towards digital publishing and bookselling.”
The statement continued by explaining that the creation of Penguin Random House would offer them more financial opportunity to invest in other projects, specifically mentioning “new digital publishing models” and looking into emerging markets for publishing. Some early reports on the rumored deal last week estimated that together Penguin and Random House would control about 30% of all publishing revenue, making it an obvious powerhouse in an industry that already only has a few key players.