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Random House and Penguin merge to take on ebooks

  • Britain's Pearson and Germany's Bertelsmann announced on Monday they are to merge their publishers Penguin and Random House in a bid to take on ebook leaders Apple and Amazon.

    Education and media publisher Pearson said the joint venture would be named Penguin Random House.

    In recent years, both groups have had to invest in the ebooks sector. They made up 22 percent of Random House's global business in the first half of this year compared with around 20 percent for Penguin.

    Under the plan, Bertelsmann will own 53 percent of the venture and nominate five directors to the board. Pearson will own the rest and nominate four.

    Both sides must retain their stakes in the venture for at least three years.

    Penguin chairman and CEO John Makinson will be chairman of the new venture, while Random House CEO Markus Dohle will be its chief executive.

    The closing of the deal is due to take place in the second half of 2013, following regulatory approval.