Random House, already the biggest consumer book publisher in the English-speaking world, will get even bigger next year after a planned merger with Penguin. The plans, rumored last week, were confirmed today by the media companies that own the two publishing divisions, Bertelsmann and Pearson. Bertelsmann, the Random House owner, will control 53% of the combined publisher, the New York Times reports.
By merging, the companies will be better able to deal with Amazon and other Internet booksellers, as well as the increasingly important e-book market. But some literary agents are concerned that the merger will mean fewer outlets for authors, and analysts point out that there could be regulatory problems—since the merged publishers will end up with about 25% of the consumer publishing business in the US and other markets. Assuming those hurdles can be dealt with, the deal is expected to close in the last half of next year.