Nov. 25 — ViacomCBS said Wednesday it has agreed to sell publisher Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for more than $2 billion.
ViacomCBS said the $2.175 billion sale came after “a highly competitive auction” for the publisher, which has been involved with works by Stephen King and presidential scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin, along with popular titles like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Catch 22.
“This divesture follows a strategic review of non-core assets ViacomCBS undertook early in 2020,” ViacomCBS said in a statement. “Proceeds from the transaction will be used to invest in ViacomCBS’s strategic growth priorities, including in streaming, as well as to fund the dividend and pay down debt.”
ViacomCBS said it will upgrade and rebrand its CBS All Access streaming service under the name Paramount+ next year.
“We’ve made the determination that Simon & Schuster is not a core asset of the company,” ViacomCBS’s CEO Bob Bakish said. “It is not video-based; it doesn’t have significant connectivity to our broader business. At the same time, there’s no question it’s a marquee asset that’s highly valuable.”
The ViacomCBS portfolio includes the CBS network, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET and PlutoTV.
The deal is expected to be completed next year.