Saturday, November 03, 2012
Rupert Murdoch criticises Penguin Random House as 'faux merger'
Photo: Getty Images
The owners of the two companies, Pearson and Bertelsmann, this week agreed to combine their publishing assets, in a £2.4bn deal that will make Penguin Random House the world’s biggest book publisher.
Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation, owner of rival Harper Collins, was apparently looking to scupper the tie-up with a last-minute £1bn bid approach for Penguin. Pearson and Bertlesmann said they are confident that the deal will win competition approval and pledged to retain their editorial independence.
But Mr Murdoch said: “Two publishers trying to contract while saying the opposite. Let’s hear from authors and agents.”
Many authors have already voiced their objections to the prospect of a News Corp takeover of Penguin, but they are also concerned that the merger with Random House will reduce competition for their books.
“Eventually there will be less competition and fewer imprints to go to," literary agent Carole Blake said on Monday. “Competition authorities have been extremely lily-livered with regard to publishing mergers in the past. I don’t expect them to behave differently this time unless they become jingoistic about not selling to the Germans."