Bertelsmann Buys 22% Stake in Penguin Random House From Pearson -- 2nd Update

By Zeke Turner and Olga Cotaga Features Dow Jones Newswires

Bertelsmann SE said Tuesday it will increase its stake in book publisher Penguin Random House to 75%, giving it tighter control over one of the world's top book publishers.

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Minority owner Pearson PLC said separately it is selling a 22% stake in the publishing business to Bertelsmann for $1 billion and will retain 25%.

Executives at Bertelsmann said the deal wouldn't affect Penguin Random House's daily operations, but the privately held German media titan said that its increased control will give it the right to name a chairman of the company's board of directors.

"The transaction is an attractive proposition economically, as the earnings attributable to Bertelsmann shareholders will increase by more than EUR60 million ($68.3 million)," said Bertelsmann Chief Executive Thomas Rabe on Tuesday.

Under the terms of Bertelsmann and Pearson's 2012 joint-venture agreement, the German company already had control of the CEO job, to which it appointed Bertelsmann insider Markus Dohle. Originally Bertelsmann had just 53% of the combined company.

The sale is expected to close in September, Pearson and Bertelsmann said, pending approval from regulators.

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Penguin Random House's enterprise value for the deal had been set at $3.55 billion, according to Bertelsmann, which was advised by J.P. Morgan in the transaction.

The merger of Penguin and Random House joined 250 brands that publish more than 15,000 titles annually, forming the English-language world's top bookseller.

Bertelsmann competes with News Corp, which owns book publisher HarperCollins, as well as Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal.

In January Pearson, facing falling revenue from its North American education business, said it was issuing an exit warning to its partner Bertelsmann aimed at shoring up its balance sheet, which had been destabilize by losses Pearson's North American higher-education business.

Write to Zeke Turner at Zeke.Turner@wsj.com and Olga Cotaga at Olga.Cotaga@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 11, 2017 03:34 ET (07:34 GMT)