[Update]: Random House and Penguin Are Talking About Merging

Two of the largest publishing houses could merge. Random House’s parent company Bertelsmann and Penguin’s parent company Pearson have been discussing combing their publishing houses, reports the Financial Times.

The talks, which could still fall apart, have focused on a merger that would give Bertlesmann more than a 50 percent stake in the mega-publishing company that would form. The two houses combined would control about a quarter of the US and UK markets.

The idea of consolidating publishing houses is not completely unexpected.

“Analysts have predicted consolidation among the “big six” market leaders of the relatively fragmented publishing industry for several years,” writes the FT. Still, the move could drastically change the book industry.

Pearson released a statement this afternoon confirming that they are indeed engaged in discussions with Bertelsmann. Previously, the parent companies of both publishing house had declined to talk to the Financial Times. Incidentally, the FT is owned by Pearson.

Statement below:

Pearson notes recent media coverage regarding Penguin, its consumer publishing division, and Random House (part of Bertelsmann). Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.