Bertelsmann to acquire Simon & Schuster for more than $2 billion

German media group Bertelsmann will acquire U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for more than $2 billion, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Bertelsmann, owner of Penguin Random House, outbid Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for the publisher of authors Dan Brown, Hillary Clinton and Stephen King that Viacom put up for sale earlier this year. Founded in 1835 as a publisher of theological texts, Bertelsmann is today a private media conglomerate that spans magazine, educational and music publishing and controls European TV group RTL.

CEO Thomas Rabe is restructuring the group to reduce its exposure to declining areas such as printing, has merged its Arvato CRM customer services unit and made a string of smaller technology bets. The lack of its own public equity that can be deployed as an acquisition ‘currency’ has constrained Bertelsmann’s ability to do large deals, with the Simon & Schuster acquisition its biggest of recent years.

A Bertelsmann spokesman declined to comment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/viacomcbs-ma-bertelsmann/update-3-bertelsmann-buys-simon-schuster-for-2-2-bln-in-u-s-publishing-play-idUSL8N2IB336