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ViacomCBS generates funds for streaming growth with US$2.2 billion Simon & Schuster sale

ViacomCBS has confirmed the sale of book publisher Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House-owner Bertelsmann.

The media giant confirmed that it will sell the publisher for US$2.175 billion in cash following a strategic review of non-core assets that it undertook in early 2020. ViacomCBS said that the deal is expected to close in 2021, with the funds used to invest in strategic growth priorities including streaming.

For its part, Bertelsmann outbid News Corp, and said that the acquisition would consolidate its position as the world’s biggest bookseller.

The confirmation comes a day after it emerged that a deal was imminent, with the figure slightly higher than predicted.

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.