German media company Bertelsmann, which owns Penguin Random House, has inked a deal with ViacomCBS to acquire publishing house Simon & Schuster for $2.17 billion in cash.
The Penguin Random House umbrella will operate Simon & Schuster as a separate unit. According to Variety, Jonathan Karp, chief executive officer and Dennis Eulau, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, Simon & Schuster, will continue to lead the division after the deal closes in 2021.
ViacomCBS had previously announced intent to sell the publishing arm earlier in 2020 as part of the company’s post-merger strategy, which includes streamlining to focus on investment of content. According to ViacomCBS, the proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt, fund its dividend and to invest in what they call “strategic growth priorities.”
Bob Bakish, chief, ViacomCBS says that Simon & Schuster had attracted interest from more than two dozen bidders.