It was not so many months ago, in October of last year, when we learned that publishers Random House and Penguin would merge, per their parent companies Bertelsmann and Pearson. The news rocked at least a few folks in the industry to their core, brought waves of discussion of what exactly a "Random Penguin" might be, and had us wondering what the combination of two of the biggest publishers might mean for the book business at large. Today it appears that the merger is on schedule, and may even happen more quickly than anticipated, reports Crain's Matthew Flamm: An internal memo went out to Penguin staffers Friday morning in which Penguin Group CEO John Makinson said the merger will close early in the second half of the year. So, soon!
Random Penguin supporters can thank the speed of regulatory approvals, which have come quickly from around the world. The go-ahead from Canada arrived last week, and the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the E.U. cleared the merger before that. "Only China has yet to green light the transaction," writes Flamm. Even so, the merger won't happen before early July, due to the need for "integration planning and business continuity."
According to the terms of the merger, Bertlesmann will maintain a 53 percent stake in the new company, and Pearson will keep 47 percent. And, oh yes, the company will be called Penguin Random House. But we all know what most of us will be thinking its name is.