KKR, a private investment firm, has successfully reached a definitive agreement to acquire Simon & Schuster from its parent company, Paramount Global, for a sum of $1.62 billion.
Simon & Schuster had been on the market for sale by Paramount for a number of years, and even a previous attempt to sell the company for $2.175 billion to Penguin Random House last year was thwarted due to antitrust concerns raised by the Department of Justice. Notably, Simon & Schuster recorded revenues of $1.18 billion in the year 2022.
The acquisition is anticipated to be finalized before the conclusion of 2023. After the acquisition, Simon & Schuster will transition into a privately held enterprise. Importantly, the leadership of the company will remain intact, with Jonathan Karp as CEO and Dennis Eulau as COO and CFO.
KKR has expressed its commitment to foster growth in several strategic areas, such as expanding Simon & Schuster’s robust domestic publishing program to encompass a wider array of genres and categories. The investment firm also aims to enhance distribution networks and expedite progress in international markets. In an inclusive move, KKR has outlined plans to institute an extensive equity ownership program. This program will extend the opportunity for more than 1,600 employees of Simon & Schuster to partake in the advantages of ownership once the transaction is concluded.
The media division of KKR is led by Richard Sarnoff, a seasoned professional in the publishing industry. Sarnoff, who formerly held the position of CFO at Bantam Doubleday Dell and played a pivotal role in the acquisition of Random House by the German conglomerate Bertelsmann, is well-versed in the intricacies of the book business. Jonathan Karp expressed his familiarity with Sarnoff, having collaborated with him previously, and highlighted Sarnoff’s deep understanding of the dynamics of the industry
For more, see the report in Publishers Weekly.