American media company ViacomCBS announced Wednesday it agreed to sell its subsidiary publishing firm, Simon & Schuster, for $2.175 billion.
The third-largest publisher in the US will be sold to British-German publishing company Penguin Random House, according to a statement by ViacomCBS.
“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,” it added.
As part of the strategy, the company also agreed in October to sell US consumer technology website CNET for $500 million.
Simon & Schuster will continue to be managed as a separate publishing unit under Penguin Random House after the transaction that is expected to close in 2021 with regulatory approvals.
But the deal could be blocked by the US Justice Department because the merger of Simon & Schuster and Penguin Random House would create a large company, accounting for about one-third of all books sold in the US, raising anti-trust concerns.
Simon & Schuster has more than 30 publishing units across adult, children, audio and international genre, including best-selling authors Stephen King, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jason Reynolds.
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