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Business

Bertelsmann and Pearson forge publishing powerhouse

Germany's Bertelsmann media company and British publisher Pearson have agreed to merge their book publishing units Random House and Penguin. The deal will create the world's biggest publishing business.

The deal reportedly worth 2.4 billion pounds (2.9 billion euros) would create a joint venture named Penguin Random House, with Bertelsmann holding 53 percent and Pearson 47 percent, the two media companies announced Monday.

The deal brings together two of the world's leading English language publishers, with highly complementary skills and strengths, they said in a joint statement.

"Random House is the leading publisher in the US and the UK, while Penguin is the world's most famous publishing brand and has a strong presence in fast-growing developing markets," the statement added.

The new media company will be run by Random House Chief Executive Markus Dohle. Bertelsmann, which is Europe's biggest media group, will nominate five directors to the board of the joint venture, while Pearson will hold four.

Pearson Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino said the two publishers together would be able to save costs to invest more in authors, readers as well as in the fast-moving e-book business.

The merger was expected to be completed in the second half of 2014, following regulatory approval, the media groups said.

uhe/jr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)