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Paramount prepares to sell Simon & Schuster

Aug 7, 2023
Illustration of a book with the pages made of money.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Paramount is preparing to sell Simon & Schuster to KKR for $1.6 billion, according to multiple reports.

Why it matters: The deal allows Paramount to offload a non-core asset as it seeks to revitalize its entertainment business and puts one of the country's biggest book publishers under private equity ownership.

Details: Paramount reports earnings Monday afternoon, so the sale will likely be discussed then.

  • The reported price is less than the $2.2 billion Penguin Random House agreed to pay in 2020. Paramount did collect a termination fee of $200 million when it ended the sale following a federal judge blocking the deal over antitrust concerns.
  • Simon & Schuster's recent earnings have been strong. For the first quarter of 2023, revenue was up 19% to $258 million and operating profit was up 16% to $58 million.

What we're watching: Paramount also has been looking to sell a majority stake in BET Group.

KKR declined to comment. Paramount did not respond to a request for comment.

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