Buyouts and Layoffs Hit Penguin Random House

Several of Penguin Random House’s top editors, who have worked with authors such as Joan Didion, Alice Munroe, Amor Tolles, Elizabeth Gilbert and Joyce Carol Oates, have announced a series of acquisitions and layoffs in the United States. He left the company after attacking the largest book publisher.

The move represents a changing of the guard, especially at the famous printing company Knopp, as editors and other staff with decades of experience are leaving. It was also another upheaval for Penguin Random House, which lost both its global and U.S. chief executives in just the past seven months.

Among those making acquisitions at Knopf is Kathy Hooligan, who joined the publishing company in 1963 and worked with Robert A. Caro for decades. Vicki Wilson, editor of Anne Rice, who celebrated her 50th anniversary last year.and Jonathan Segal He edited seven books that went on to win Pulitzer Prizes. Penguin Random House’s other label, Viking, also acquired editors Wendy Wolfe, Paul Slovak and Rick Cotte.

The layoffs included staff in various areas, including public relations, editorial and sales. Daniel Halpern The founder of Ecco Press, who moved to Knopf two years ago, was laid off. About 60 people were affected by the layoffs, although they weren’t authorized to speak publicly, according to employees familiar with the situation.

The book market is facing significant cost increases “across the board”, and that trend will continue with inflation, the company’s chief executive Nihal Malavya said in an email to employees Tuesday morning. said it expected.

“I am saddened to share the news yesterday that some of my colleagues across the company were informed that their roles would be discontinued,” Malaviya wrote. “We have tried for many years to avoid such behavior, but unfortunately we have not been able to do so.”

A turbulent period followed at Penguin Random House. In the fall, a judge blocked the company from acquiring competing publisher Simon & Schuster, Inc. on antitrust grounds, and the acquisition would cost the company, in addition to immeasurable legal costs, a loss to Simon & Schuster. It ended up paying $200 million in termination fees that had to be paid to the company’s parent company.

In December, Marcus Doll, who was seen as a key figure in the failed takeover, stepped down as CEO. Malaviya, who was chief operating officer, was promoted to chief executive officer, ahead of his boss, U.S. chief executive officer Madeleine McIntosh. McIntosh resigned the following month.

The acquisition of Penguin Random House was offered to employees over the age of 60 who have been with the company for at least 15 years.

But Penguin Random House isn’t the only publisher facing challenges. The publishing industry, which experienced phenomenal growth in the midst of the pandemic, is facing sluggish sales and rising costs.

HarperCollins announced earlier this year that it would offer an acquisition as part of an effort to cut its workforce in North America by 5%. Hachette Book Group is also proposing a purchase.

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