Penguin-Random House merger in discussions

British publishing and education company Pearson PLC says it is in talks with German media group Bertelsmann SE over merging the firms’ Penguin and Random House publishing operations.

Pearson said Thursday it “is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House” but added that there is no certainty the talks will lead to a transaction.

Pearson is publisher of the Financial Times and Penguin Group books. Bertelsmann’s assets include the RTL Group television division and magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr.

The talks come at a time when the publishing industry is being buffeted by the growing e-book market.

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