The U.K.’s Sunday Times has reported that News Corp., parent company of HarperCollins, is preparing to make an offer to acquire Penguin Group. According to the paper, which is also owned by News Corp., the company is considering making a 1 billion pound bid for Penguin. News Corp.’s interest comes after Penguin parent company Pearson confirmed Thursday it was talking to Bertelsmann about merging Penguin with Random House.
No one was available to comment on News Corp.’s interest, but the development seems to all but ensure that Penguin will end up in the hands of one of its former competitors, be it Random House or Harper. If News Corp. emerges victorious it would complete a surprising turnaround for Harper, which had been viewed by many in the industry as the most likely of the big six trade houses to be sold. That perception changed, however, when News and Harper bought Thomas Nelson to form the country’s largest Christian book publisher. HarperCollins will be one of the News Corp. assets that will be spun off next year as part of a separate company containing News Corp.'s print-based properties that includes all its newspapers.