ViacomCBS has received more than half a dozen inquiries from interested buyers, including financial companies and French media giant Vivendi, which has a minority stake in Hatchet by publisher Lagarde. Among the top three contenders were Bertelsman, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, who owns HarperCollins, and Vivendi. News that Bertelman was close to a deal was previously reported by the Financial Times.
The merger will be reviewed by President-elect Biden’s team, according to Eric Gordon, a professor of Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He said the incoming administration would be tougher than the previous administration team and sympathetic to the plight of writers who would have less ability to negotiate or publish deals. “
He added that regulators could find what are known as “structural solutions” where Penguin Random House would have to sell other sections or impressions as a merger condition. He said the company would have to spin or sell a large enough portion to make it a “viable competitor”.
A spokesman for Bertelsmann said Penguin Random House had lost market share in recent years and considered Amazon a competitive risk to the overall book market. Citing data from industry trade group association Sim f American Publishers, the company said the alliance between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would be “below 20 per cent”.
These sales could also have an impact on the ripple effect of the literary ecosystem. The largest houses are more equipped to negotiate favorable terms with larger retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the larger B stores X stores, and are also able to develop a direct network of customer marketing and sales so that they do not rely on retailers.
For literary agents and authors, the wave of aggregation means fewer potential buyers for authors’ books without a proven track record.
“There are projects that would have sold 100,000,000 years ago, now they probably won’t sell in the top five, while a book sold for $ 500,000 will go for a million,” said literary agent David Kuhn. “They will go to great lengths to get what they agree on the most.”