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ViacomCBS close to offloading Simon & Schuster for US$2.1 billion as sale of unwanted assets continues

ViacomCBS is reportedly close to the sale of its Simon & Schuster book publishing business in a deal valued at over US$2 billion.

According to sources cited by Bloomberg, German media business Bertelsmann has agreed to pay US$2.1 billion for the publisher, with an announcement potentially to be made this week.

The sources noted that HarperCollins (owned by News Corp.) stated an interest in the publisher, while Vivendi was also considering making a move.

Bertelsmann is a giant in the publishing world, and owns Penguin Random House. A spokesperson declined to comment on the deal to Bloomberg, but stated that it wants its publishing business to grow through mergers and acquisitions and that this is still the case.

A spokesperson for ViacomCBS also did not comment.

As it gears up for the launch of major streaming service Paramount+ in 2021, ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish has openly stated that the company would look to offload any superfluous assets, including the publisher and the iconic CBS Black Rock office in midtown Manhattan.

ViacomCBS agreed to sell off CNET Media Group last month in a US$500 million deal with South Carolina-based Red Ventures. The sale, which was first considered in August, represented a US$1.3 billion loss on the group it bought for US$1.8 billion in 2008.