The Wall Street Journal reports
that there may be a spoiler in the merger talks between Random House and Penguin. News Corp., which owns HarperCollins and The Wall Street Journal
, is reportedly interested in buying Penguin
The WJS quotes a "person familiar with the situation" who says that News Corp.'s interest in Penguin could complicate the merger negotiations which would result in a global company that would control 25% of global English language consumer book sales. The Penguin-Random House talks come in the middle of a major change in the book publishing industry, with the fast growth of ebooks and related digital content. No one wants to get left out in the cold as an entire industry reorganizes itself for the future. The recent settlement between the Department of Justice and major book publishers over claims of ebook price fixing is also a driving force behind the merger discussions.
The WSJ couldn't get a comment out of Bertelsmann or Penguin Group today. No one will go on the record, which usually means that negotiations are proceeding at a fast pace.