With News Corp.'s late bid to absorb Penguin into HarperCollins thwarted, Penguin Random House is now a done deal. Pearson and Bertelsmann have confirmed previously announced plans to merge the two major publishers. Random House's German overlords Bertlesmann will have a 53 percent stake in the new company, with Pearson retaining 47 percent ownership.
Speculation about this announcement has been going on for some time, with a change in Pearson's leadership earlier this month widely taken as a sign that the corporation would restructure its holdings. Pearson's educational texts have been much more profitable for the company, and market analysts singled out Penguin as the property Pearson would be most likely to sell. Before Pearson-owned newspaper the Financial Times announced discussions with Bertelsmann, many saw Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. as a likely buyer. But it looks like Murdoch was late to the punch, and Penguin's leadership have rejected his cash offer for Penguin. Penguin's former CEO and soon-to-be chairman John Makinson told The Guardian's Mark Sweney, "There isn't any sort of break clause [with Bertelsmann]. It is a signed transaction." Current Random House chief executive Markus Dohle will become the new company's CEO.