Simon & Schuster’s parent company ViacomCBS wants to sell their publishing division. CEO Bob Bakish said,
We’ve been conducting a portfolio review of our company. And coming out of that we’ve made the determination that Simon and Schuster is not a core asset of the company. It is not video based; it doesn’t have significant connectivity to our broader business. At the same time, there’s no question it’s a marquee asset that’s highly valuable. I’ve had multiple, unsolicited inbound calls about that asset. And so as this market stabilizes, we are going to engage in a process and look at strategic alternatives for Simon and Schuster.
ViacomCBS reportedly hopes to sell S&S for at least $1.2 billion. S&S had $814 million in sales in 2019 and $823 million in 2018. If it sells to one of its major competitors, the Big Five publishers will become the Big Four.
S&S CEO Carolyn Reidy told staff, “While there will likely be rumor and speculation – which I know can be distracting – I trust that you will stay focused on continuing the great work you do every day with your usual dedication…. The process will surely be an adventure for all of us, but we are a company that has always risen to challenges we face.” There are rumors and speculation about potential buyers, some of whom have expressed interest in acquiring S&S the past, notably HarperCollins, Lagardere (which owns Hachette), and Amazon.
ETA: The sale of assets has been placed on hold until the pandemic situation settles. More information via the Hollywood Reporter.
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