Flush with cash and in an apparent buying mood ahead of splitting the company in two, News Corp is in preliminary talks with CBS about buying its Simon & Schuster subsidiary, according to the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal. Although it is far from certain that a deal will get done, a combination of HarperCollins and S&S would form the second largest trade house after the merged Penguin Random House.

Some time next year, News Corp. plans to splif off its print-based assets from its entertainment properties and company chairman Rupert Murdoch appears willing to spend big to build both companies. News just completed a deal to buy a 49% stake in the YES Network and earlier had expressed interest in buying Penguin.