The ViacomCBS sale of Simon & Schuster is nearing the end game with all bids apparently coming from existing major book publishers. Private equity interest has reportedly fallen away.
NewsCorp (owner of Harper Collins) has entered the fray adding to interest from Bertelsmann-owned PenguinRandomHouse and Vivendi, part owner of Hachette. Simon & Schuster was founded in 1924 as a publisher of crossword puzzles in book form, adding 50 publishing imprints along the way to produce revenue of $649m in the year to September 2020 with profits of $115m.
The sale price is expected to be above $1.7bn and a winning bidder is expected to be announced in late November or early December. That assumes ViacomCBS will get a price which persuades it to proceed with the sale, as the business is performing well amid a buoyant Covid market for book sales. Any deal would be subject to regulatory approval with competition authorities in the US and EU likely to scrutinise closely the bids of existing publishers.