Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Expanding Its Book Publishing Business

From a Wall Street Journal story by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Dana Cimilluca headlined “News Corp Nears Deal to Buy Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Consumer-Publishing Arm”:

News Corp is nearing an agreement to purchase the consumer arm of educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Co….The deal, which the people said could be announced as early as Monday, would add a portfolio of high-profile novels from authors such as George Orwell, Philip Roth and J.R.R. Tolkien to News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers division….

The deal indicates that New York-based News Corp, which in addition to HarperCollins owns Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. and news organizations in the U.K. and Australia, among other assets, is looking to expand through select acquisitions after a period of slimming down through sales of noncore businesses….

News Corp is focusing investments on growth areas including books, digital real estate, and the Dow Jones unit, a person familiar with the situation said.

News Corp said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy Investor’s Business Daily for $275 million, adding another publication catering to investors to its portfolio. The Dow Jones unit, which also publishes MarketWatch and Barron’s, will operate Investor’s Business Daily….

News Corp shares have risen sharply since. At about $26, they are nearly triple the level where they were a year ago.

HarperCollins has been a strong performer during the pandemic, which helped propel book sales. In its most recent quarter, the unit posted a 23% growth in revenue to $544 million and 65% jump in profitability to $104 million.

Houghton’s consumer-publishing unit generated revenue of $191.7 million in 2020, accounting for approximately 19% of Houghton’s net sales. Other core properties of HMH Books & Media include the Peterson Field Guides, which cover topics ranging from birds to fish to wildflowers; lifestyle titles from Martha Stewart; and the Carmen Sandiego franchise.

HMH Books & Media owns a substantial children’s catalog that includes the “Little Blue Truck” and “Curious George” series, and other favorites such as “The Polar Express” and “Jumanji.” It boasts a strong line of cookbooks that includes titles by Jacques Pépin, Mark Bittman and Priya Krishna….

The deal would mark the second sale of a well-known publisher in less than six months. German media giant Bertelsmann SE, which owns Penguin Random House, last November agreed to buy Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS Inc. for almost $2.18 billion….

Speak Your Mind