October 28, 2012 / 11:55 AM / 5 years ago

News Corp eyes cash bid for Penguin: paper

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has indicated it will make a “substantial cash offer” for media conglomerate Pearson’s Penguin Group, joining the race for the book publisher, the Sunday Times reported.

A passer-by stands in front of the News Corporation building in New York June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

In an unsourced report, the paper said the bid could total around 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) and could scupper plans to tie Penguin with Random House, owned by Germany’s Bertelsmann. News Corp owns book publisher HarperCollins.

The paper said HarperCollins and Penguin together would have a market share of 20 percent, while a tie-up of Penguin with Random House would control nearly 30 percent of English-language book sales.

Pearson confirmed on Thursday that it was in talks with Bertelsmann, Europe’s biggest media group, but said the two had yet to agree a deal.

Outgoing Pearson Chief Executive Marjorie Scardino was thought to favor a deal with Random House, while other executives wanted to open talks with News Corp, the paper said.

A sale would provide a clean break with book publishing for Pearson, also owner of the Financial Times, as it concentrates on the education division that became a dominant force under Scardino.

A News Corp spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. Pearson spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.

($1=0.6212 British pounds)

Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; Editing by Mike Nesbit

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