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KKR in 'advanced talks' to buy Paramount’s Simon & Schuster in $1.65 Billion deal: Report

KKR & Co Inc is in advanced talks to acquire book publisher Simon & Schuster from Paramount Global for $1.65 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Private-equity firm KKR & Co. Inc. is in "advanced talks" to buy Paramount’s Simon & Schuster for about $1.65 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing people familiar with the situation. 

Other bidders included News Corp-owned Harper Collins Publishers and investor Richard Hurowitz, the sources said.

If the talks conclude successfully, a deal could be announced in the coming days, the sources said, requesting anonymity as these discussions are confidential.

The price KKR & Co. Inc. is discussing with Paramount for the publisher at $1.65 billion is lower than the $2.2 billion valuation Simon & Schuster drew in the previous failed Penguin deal last year.


Paramount put Simon & Schuster on sale for a second time this year after a federal judge last year blocked an earlier sale to Penguin Random House. 

Last year, the U.S. Justice Department sued to stop the tie-up of Penguin and Simon & Schuster, ruling that Penguin's bid to acquire Simon & Schuster was illegal because the merger would impact authors' pay. If the merger was successful, the combined group would have accounted for nearly half of the market for publishing rights to blockbuster books.

Penguin Random House owner Bertelsmann initially said it would appeal the decision, but the German media group bowed down saying in a statement that it "will advance the growth of its global book publishing business without the previously planned merger of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster."

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Paramount walked away with a breakup fee of $200 million after the deal was called off. 

Simon & Schuster's sale to KKR will not raise competition concerns with U.S. regulators that led to the demise of the Penguin deal last year, the sources said.

Simon & Schuster publishes authors including Stephen King, Colleen Hoove, and Hillary Clinton. King testified in favor of the U.S. government when it sued to block the tie-up with Penguin.


In the first quarter of 2023, sales at the publishing house rose 19% to $258 million while operating profit increased 16% to $58 million.

KKR and Simon & Schuster did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.

Fox News' Landon Mion and Reuters contributed to this report.

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