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Agents are relieved to hear that editors at both Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster will be able to bid on the same titles when PRH’s acquisition of S&S is complete. PRH CEO Markus Dohle made the announcement at a Zoom call earlier this month.
“Competition for manuscripts won’t be impacted by the merger”, he said. This will remain the case even when the two houses are the only ones left in the auction. However – and this is a key point – he added that once a certain monetary threshold is reached, then the CEO’s voice will be heard. In other words, if a million dollars is reached for example, then competitive bidding between two wings of the same overall company – in this case Berteslmann – will not happen. But for titles that are not in this super league, Dhole believes competitive bidding is helpful.
“[Our focus] is to win the book,” he said, adding that it was all about finding the “perfect match” between book and editor. He wants to protect the creative side of the business and believes that, up to a point, this is more important than the bottom line.