Murdoch seeks to tie Penguin to News Corp

City A.M. Reporter
RUPERT Murdoch’s News Corp has indicated it will make a “substantial cash offer” for media conglomerate Pearson’s Penguin Group, joining the race for the book publisher.

The bid, said to total around £1bn, could scupper plans to tie Penguin with Random House, owned by Germany’s Bertelsmann. News Corp owns book publisher HarperCollins. Pearson confirmed on Thursday that it was in talks with Bertelsmann, but said the two had yet to agree a deal.

Outgoing Pearson chief executive Marjorie Scardino is thought to favour a deal with Random House. A sale would provide a clean break with book publishing for Pearson, also owner of the Financial Times, as it concentrates on the education division that became a dominant force under Scardino.

A News Corp spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. Pearson spokespeople could not be reached for comment.