International publishing giants Bertelsmann and Pearson have announced plans to merge their trade book publishing businesses. Their Random House and Penguin brands will be combined in most of the world by the second half of 2013, pending regulatory approval.
Bertelsmann will own 53 percent of the new entity while Pearson will take the remaining 47 percent. Random House CEO Markus Dohle will be CEO of the new organization while Penguin CEO John Makinson will be Chairman. The combined entity is expected to control over a quarter of the world’s consumer publishing market.
“With this planned combination, Bertelsmann and Pearson create the best course for the future of our world-renowned trade-book publishers, Random House and Penguin, by enabling them to publish even more effectively across traditional and emerging formats and distribution channels,” said Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe. “It will build on our publishing tradition, offering an extraordinary diversity of publishing opportunities for authors, agents, booksellers, and readers, together with unequaled support and resources.”
Bertelsmann will be retaining control of Verlagsgruppe Random House, its Munich-based German-language publishing division. According to a press release about the merger, the two companies’ publishing imprints will retain their current autonomy with “distinct editorial identities.”
Gütersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann has 100,000 employees worldwide through its media divisions and in 2011 earned over €15.3 billion in revenues. The company was founded in 1835 as a publishing house and print shop. London-based Pearson had revenues of £5,862 million in 2011 with over 37,000 employees.