(Repeats with no changes to text)
By Andrew Callus and Supantha Mukherjee
Aug 8 U.S. publisher Hachette Book Group, owned
by France's Lagardere SCA, has dropped its plan to buy
unlisted Perseus Books Group, the companies confirmed on Friday.
Hachette said in June it would keep Perseus's books business
but sell its client services business to book distributor Ingram
"Despite great effort from all three parties, they could not
reach agreement on all of the issues necessary to close the
transaction," a Hachette spokeswoman told Reuters.
Ingram spokesman Keel Hunt also confirmed the news.
The financial details of the deal were not specified at the
time, but according to a report in Publishers Weekly the deal
was doomed by complications on Ingram's side.
Had the deal succeeded it would have given Hachette - the
fourth-largest U.S. publisher - leverage in a months-long
dispute with Amazon over the pricing of e-books.
Amazon has said its push for lower prices was good for
authors, publishers and booksellers.
Upset over e-book prices, the online retailer has delayed
deliveries, cut discounts, and even removed an option to
pre-order Hachette titles such as "The Silkworm", Harry Potter
author J.K. Rowling's second crime novel, written under the
pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
About 900 writers have signed a petition to protest Amazon's
campaign of discouraging customers from buying books published
by Hachette. (bit.ly/V3EOL3)
"As writers - most of us not published by Hachette - we feel
strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or
otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or
receiving the books they want," author Douglas Preston wrote in
an open letter to readers in July.
Some Amazon customers have also gone public about their
decision to buy books elsewhere. Advocates for authors and
publishers have used words like "bullying" and "thuggish" and
called for government intervention.
Amazon claims that pricing an e-book at $14.99 or $19.99 is
too expensive and unjustifiable in most cases and has argued
that e-books priced at $9.99 sold more.
Authors and other publishing insiders have accused Amazon of
wielding its power as a major retailer to gain an unfair
advantage during contract talks by demanding that publishers cut
prices and pay higher fees.
Perseus, owned by private-equity firm Perseus LLC, brings
out about 700 titles per year and has a backlist of more than
Hachette had said it would make Perseus's publishing
business a new division comprising of nine imprints, including
Avalon Books, Basic Books, Da Capo Press, PublicAffairs and
Ingram, a unit of Ingram Industries, would have used
Perseus's client services division to form a distributor with
more than 400 clients ranging from DreamWorks Press to Harvard
Business Review Press.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus in Paris and Supantha Mukherjee in
Bangalore; Additional reporting by Soham Chatterjee in
Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)