In a bid to get a larger slice of what they see as a rapidly expanding market, Random House and the Italian publisher Mondadori have signed a letter of intent to combine their worldwide Spanish-language book-publishing operations in a newly created joint venture to be called Grupo Editorial Random House Mondadori. The two publishers will each have a 50% stake in the venture, which is expected to generate annual revenues of about $100 million. The announcement was made jointly by Random chairman Peter Olson and Maurizio Costa, Mondadori chief executive. The agreement is expected to be finalized later this spring.

A spokesperson for Random House said the two companies decided to team up because they believed that their "already successful Spanish-language publishing programs could be more successful if they were united." The new company will consist of Random's Plaza & Janes division, which operates in Spain and Mexico, and Sudamericana, which has offices in Argentina; as well as Mondadori subsidiary Grijalbo, whose associated companies publish in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. A new organizational structure will be announced when the deal is closed, and until that time the two companies will continue to operate independently.

In the joint venture, Plaza, Sudamericana and Grijalbo will retain their editorial identities and will publish under a wide range of existing imprints. Titles published through the joint venture are expected to be made available in the U.S. through Random's newly formed Spanish-language imprint, Random House Espanol.