HarperCollins may yet Move on Simon & Schuster

 The door is still open on an acquisition of Simon & Schuster, with much speculation over whether HarperCollins will make a move.  In a call with analysts HarperCollins worldwide CEO Brian Murray said: “I think of it as, the door isn’t closed, to either HarperCollins or Hachette or another big publisher. I think it definitely closed a little; it’s not as wide open as it was before. There’s a line at the end of the decision that it’s likely another publisher comes to buy it.” 

In Judge Pan’s 7 November ruling blocking PRH’s proposed merger with S&S, she said: “Other potential buyers from the publishing industry have shown interest in acquiring S&S, and it is just as likely that another publishing company will prevail in a future sale”. 

Murray thinks “there’s a question whether the Department of Justice (DoJ) would want to bring a case against a second publisher.  the DoJ’s case was very solid given the math…the math would be very different for a HarperCollins or Hachette deal”.

Robert Thomson, CEO at News Corp, parent company of HarperCollins, told analysts: “Clearly, there is much more work ahead for the lawyers at both companies. The legal documents must already run into many volumes themselves. But it is appropriate that the judge rule that the proposed merger would create a book behemoth, literally Leviathan, a titan of tomes that will have disproportionate weight in the industry.”

The fact that HarperCollins is much smaller than PRH may go in its favour.  The latter is estimated to be twice the size of HarperCollins.  The industry watches and waits.