Saturday 1 April 2000
Locus Online Buys Simon & Schuster
In the latest multi-media merger, Locus Online has acquired publisher Simon & Schuster from Viacom Inc. in a $93 million stock swap.
Locus Online was launched in April 1997, and in three years has seen its profits soar to over $300/month. "We looked for ways to invest and decided to expand our book collection," a spokesman commented. "We bought every SF book on eBay." The resultant $75 million loss attracted a frenzy of investors and made Locus Online's recent IPO wildly successful. Stock value now exceeds $670 million.
Simon & Schuster, founded in 1924, is one of the world's preeminent publishers of quality books, the home of Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Heller, and Frank McCourt, as well as Stephen King, V.C. Andrews®, and the Pocket Books line of Star Trek titles. Simon & Schuster president and chief operating officer Jack Romanos expressed relief at the friendly takeover. "Our success with Stephen King's eBook 'Riding the Bullet' shows the enormous potential of electronic publishing. We're proud to be associated with Locus Online, a major web publisher as dedicated as we are to the future of literature in this new electronic commerce space."
A spokesman for Locus Online remarked "Our acquisition of Simon & Schuster gives us the opportunity to help shape the future of science fiction. We're particuarly excited about signing Gene Wolfe to write for Star Trek. His work will bring about a sorely needed rapprochement between traditional literary and media-oriented SF."
Star Trek editor John Ordover confirmed that Wolfe's four-volume sequence ''The Book of the Old Sun'' will tie three earlier Wolfe series to the Star Trek universe. The first volume, He's Dead, Severian, will appear in September.
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