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Have You Always Wanted to Buy a Big 5 Publisher?

Simon & Schuster

Now’s your chance!

Simon & Schuster, one of the so-called “Big 5” New York publishing houses, has been put up for sale by its parent company, ViacomCBS.

According to an article in The New York Times:

ViacomCBS, announced (that), after a “strategic review,” the book publisher was no longer essential to its business and that it would seek a buyer…ViacomCBS, the newly combined business controlled by Shari Redstone, is betting its future on streaming and sports content. Owning a major book publisher does not fit into those plans.

This sell-off is in line with what Viacom announced shortly its merger with CBS last year, that it would “review its balance sheet” and “increase its presence in the streaming business.”

Simon & Schuster’s illustrious author list includes Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Steven King, Annie Proulx, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee Thomas Wolfe.

Its list also includes “several perennial bestsellers” including Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind.

ViacomCBS is looking for $750 million in cost cuts after the December merger of Viacom and CBS, so figure an opening bid of half-a-billion dollars probably gets you in the door?

Or maybe not: The Los Angelees Times mentions that Bertelsmann announced that it would pay $675 million for the remaining 25 percent stake in Penguin Random House from the British firm Pearson, putting that valuation closer to 2.4 billion dollars.

Although Simon & Schuster was the smallest of The Big 5, that’s still quite a lot of jelly beans.

But hey, math isn’t most writers’ strongsuit. Maybe if you just ask nicely?