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The daily business briefing: November 25, 2020

ViacomCBS is near a $2 billion-plus deal to sell Simon & Schuster to German media giant Bertelsmann SE, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. There is no guarantee the sale won’t fall apart, but if it goes through it will create a publishing giant handling about a third of U.S. book sales. Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House is America’s biggest publisher, measured by books sold, and Simon & Schuster is No. 3 behind News Corp’s HarperCollins. The combined company would boast some of the world’s top-selling authors, including Stephen King, Bob Woodward, Dan Brown, and John Grisham. ViacomCBS has been trying to sell Simon & Schuster since March to raise money to put into its streaming-video push. [Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal]

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