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Mubadala-backed investor in race to buy US publisher

Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster holds six percent share of the US print books market
  • New York’s Octavian & Co backed by Abu Dhabi fund
  • HarperCollins and private equity firm KKR among other bidders
  • Penguin Random House deal blocked on antitrust grounds

A US-based investment company, backed by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, has emerged as a bidder for American book publisher Simon & Schuster.

Octavian & Co., an investment company based in New York and publisher of the quarterly magazine “Octavian Report”, is headed by Richard Hurowitz, The Wall Street Journal reported citing informed sources.

Nasdaq-listed Paramount Global put Simon & Schuster on the sales block earlier this year after its deal to sell the publishing business to Penguin Random House was blocked on antitrust grounds in 2022.

Simon & Schuster publishes best-selling authors such as Stephen King and Bob Woodward, along with political books and memoirs from former Trump administration officials.

HarperCollins Publishers and private equity firm KKR are among other bidders for Simon & Schuster, the newspaper said.

HarperCollins, owned by News Corp, holds an 11 percent share of the US market for print books, while Simon & Schuster is placed third with a six percent share, according to book tracker Circana BookScan.

The second round bids for Simon & Schuster are due in mid-July, sources added.

Mubadala reported AED1 trillion ($276 billion) in assets under management in its financial report for 2022, stating it “outperformed market benchmarks”.

The sovereign investor is the second-biggest state fund in the UAE capital after Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

In addition, the wealth fund reported proceeds of AED106 billion ($29 billion), including from sales of stakes in Borealis and mining companies Minas de Aguas Teñidas and Glencore, to support capital recycling into high-potential investment areas.

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