The acquisition of the Perseus Books Group by Hachette and Ingram has been called off.
A letter sent to Perseus employees Thursday afternoon, from Perseus CEO David Steinberger, said that despite much effort from all three parties "we could not reach an agreement on everything necessary to close the transaction." Representatives from both Hachette and Ingram confirmed that the deal was off, but would not offer further comment.
The deal was originally set to be completed at the end of July but, last week, notices were sent to Perseus employees explaining that the parties were not able to finalize the transaction by the end of the month. Despite the delay, employees were told the deal was still expected to be finalized by the end of August.
Until the end of July, Perseus had been working primarily with Hachette. However, talks became more complicated when final discussions with Ingram heated up. Although no one would comment on the particulars, Perseus's unique position in the book world could have made valuing the company difficult, especially the company's distribution arm; there has not been a major sale of a distributor since the beginning of the digital book age.
In his letter to employees, Steinberger said Perseus had a strong fiscal 2014 and that he was looking forward to focusing on growing the company. One of Steinberger's first decisions will be what to do with the Legato Publishers Group, founded by Mark Suchomel. Ingram had sent a letter to Legato clients saying that Suchomel would not be joining Ingram, but the collapse of the deal would seem to indicate a path for Suchomel to return.
Asked whether Perseus may be sold again, Steinberger emphasized that the company was never on the block, and had been approached by Hachette about a potential deal. "When you are a successful company you get offers," he said, adding that Hachette's interest reached a level that had to be explored. With that deal dead, Steinberger, who was to leave Perseus, said, "I am excited to move forward."