Publishing houses Penguin and Random House will combine forces and become Penguin Random House, Penguin announced this morning. The move comes after rumors of merger talks between Penguin’s parent company, Pearson, and Random House’s parent company, Bertlesmann, leaked last week. Pearson then acknowledged that there were ongoing discussions about merging the two publishing houses.
People in the book industry spent the ensuing days speculating about (among other things) whether a combined publishing company would be called “Random Penguin” or “Penguin House.” The combined company will be called “Penguin Random House.”
Bertelsmann will own 53 percent of the joint company and Pearson will own 47 percent. Bertelsmann will be able to nominate five directors to the Board of Penguin Random House; Pearson will nominate four. The joint venture will exclude Bertelsmann’s trade publishing business in Germany, and Pearson will retain the rights to use the Penguin brand in education markets worldwide. Penguin Random House will control about a quarter of the U.S. and U.K. markets.
The merger is subject to customary regulatory and other approvals and is expected to complete in the second half of 2013.
Current chairman and CEO of Penguin, John Makinson, will be chairman of Penguin Random House, and current Random House CEO Markus Dohle will be the CEO of the new joint company.
“All of us who work in book publishing experience every day the breathtaking pace of change in our industry,” Mr. Makinson said in a statement. “The partnership that we are announcing today will position Penguin Random House at the forefront of that change.”
“Our new company will bring together the publishing expertise, experience and skill sets of two of the world’s most successful, enduring trade book publishers,” said Mr. Dohle.