Almost since the death of Perseus Books Group founder Frank Pearl in May 2012, speculation has swirled that the company would be sold. Now, it seems, the rumors have come to fruition, with word leaking that Hachette Book Group acquiring the company.

Pearl started Perseus in 1996 and, since he died, the assumption was the company would likely be sold either to pay estate taxes, or to meet the demands of other investors. With that as background it was still a bit of a surprise when word began leaking Tuesday afternoon that the company will be sold in two parts with Hachette Book Group acquiring the book assets and Ingram acquiring the distribution business.

No party would confirm the deal, but sources close to the sale said a confirmation could come before the end of the day.

Perseus has been headed by David Steinberger since 2004 and is comprised of the publishing imprints Avalon Travel, Basic Books, Da Capo, The Economist, Nation Books, Running Press, Seal Press, Weinstein Books and Westview. Its distribution business was started in 2005 and now accounts for the bulk of its revenue under the Perseus Distribution Group, Consortium, PGW and newly established Legato Publishers Group.

For HBG, the addition of the Perseus imprints comes almost one year after it acquired approximately 1,000 Hyperion titles and is another step in meeting parent company Lagardere's long-held wish to create an American company of substantial scale.

UPDATE: The sale how now been finalized and details can be found here.