Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book trade news with Publishers Lunch - Pearson Ready to Sell Penguin Random House

Pearson issued a "trading update" on their results Wednesday morning, telling investors they are ready to sell (or recapitalize) their 47 percent stake in Penguin Random House: "With the integration of Penguin Random House complete, and with greater industry-wide stability on digital terms, we intend to issue an exit notice regarding our 47 percent stake in Penguin Random House to our JV partner Bertelsmann in the contractual window, with a view to selling our stake or recapitalizing the business and extracting a dividend."

While those reasons are valid and Pearson was expected to use the window available to them starting January 1 this year to exit trade publishing, they also need the cash as the company reported "the North American higher education courseware market was much weaker than expected" and will remain so. They reduced their earnings guidance for 2017 and withdrew any guidance for 2018 while they execute yet another restructuring. They will also "rebase" their dividend going forward, after 24 years of steady increases -- and Pearson shares were bid down by more than 25 percent in early trading in London. Pearson's value has declined by about £1.85 billion on the profit warning.

Majority owner of PRH Bertelsmann was ready with a statement of their own, with ceo Thomas Rabe saying: "The book-publishing business has created a sense of identity for Bertelsmann for more than 180 years. It is our oldest core business. Accordingly, we are open to increasing our stake in Penguin Random House, provided the financial terms are fair. Strategically this would not only strengthen one of our most important content businesses, it would also once further strengthen our presence in the United States, our second largest market."

For more on Pearson's decision to sell its PRH stake, visit

At St. Martin's Press, Laura Clark has been promoted to associate publisher, nonfiction, reporting to Jennifer Enderlin. "What impresses me most about Laura is her passion, her can-do attitude, her breadth of knowledge in so many varied areas of non-fiction," Enderlin said in the announcement. "She is the natural choice for this position, as we gear up for some of the most important non-fiction this house has ever published.

At BookPage, Cat Acree has been promoted to deputy editor.

Bookseller metadata has long indicated that Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes' forthcoming book on Hillary Clinton was headed for publication at the beginning of May. Crown has now formally announced the book will be titled SHATTERED: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign, with publication moved up April 18. The book "draws on high levels of access to Clinton’s friends, foes, staff, and factions on both sides of the aisle as well as the authors' deep knowledge of Clinton from their previous book, HRC," which Crown published in 2014.

PEN America announced the finalists for its literary awards Wednesday morning, including the Jean Stein Book Award, which gives $75,000 for "a book of extraordinary originality and lasting influence judged by an anonymous panel without submissions." The finalists for that award include Colson Whitehead's National Book Award-winning novel The Underground Railroad; Dark Money by Jane Mayer; Hisham Matar's The Return; Olio by Tyehimba Jess; and Teju Cole's essay collection Known and Strange Things, which is also a finalist in the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Cole is the first writer in PEN America's 54-year history to be a finalist in two categories.

The winners in most categories will be announced on February 22 with the exception of the winners of the PEN/Nabokov, Jean Stein, Art of the Essay, and Debut Fiction prizes, to be announced at an awards ceremony on March 27.

No comments: