ViacomCBS Inc. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the publishing business Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, for $2.175 billion in cash.
This divesture follows a strategic review of non-core assets ViacomCBS undertook early in 2020. Proceeds from the transaction will be used to invest in ViacomCBS’s strategic growth priorities, including in streaming, as well as to fund the dividend and pay down debt.
This transaction is the outcome of a highly competitive auction that attracted interest from buyers around the world, reflecting Simon & Schuster’s position as one of the world’s best known publishing brands. Simon & Schuster has more than 30 publishing units across adult, children, audio and international. Its portfolio of best-selling authors includes Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jason Reynolds, and it owns a rich backlist of perennial favorite titles such as Catch-22 and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The transaction is expected to close in 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Upon close, Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under the Penguin Random House umbrella, and Jonathan Karp, President & CEO of Simon & Schuster, and Dennis Eulau, COO and CFO, will continue at the helm of the publishing house.
LionTree Advisors is acting as the exclusive financial advisor and Shearman & Sterling LLP is acting as legal advisor to ViacomCBS in this transaction.