Penguin Books, with its instantly recognisable family of imprints named after birds, has gained the upper hand in its merger with publishing giant Random House last week. No chance for word play in the name of the new company, though: it is to be a quite straight-forward Penguin Random House. “Random Penguin did come into conversation, but it hurt the penguin’s feelings,” joked Dame Marjorie Scardino, chief executive of the imprint’s owner, Pearson.
Bertelsmann, which owns Random House, was expected to hold 60% of the merged company: instead it settled for 53% — the power of the Penguin responsible for gaining an extra 7% for Pearson, which also owns the Financial Times (and which might also be on sale, for about £2bln) as well as The Economist.
The bird has been appearing on the company’s paperbacks since 1935, later imprints included Peregrine and Puffin. “You cannot buy that recognition. It takes a lifetime to achieve,” says Peter Straus, a literary agent at Rogers, Coleridge & White. “That must be part of the thinking.”
From the Telegraph » Powerful Penguin stamps its mark on publishing merger