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Random House will merge with Penguin

The merger of Random House and Penguin announced Monday will create the largest consumer book publisher in the world, with a global market share of about 25 percent.

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

The merger of Random House and Penguin announced Monday will create the largest consumer book publisher in the world, with a global market share of about 25 percent.

PARIS — The book publishing industry is getting smaller to get stronger.

Confirmation on Monday that Random House and Penguin will merge narrows the business to a handful of big players, led by a new international giant, Penguin Random House. And it could set off a long-awaited round of consolidation, analysts said.

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Bertelsmann, the owner of Random House, and Pearson, which owns Penguin, said Monday that they had reached an agreement to combine the two houses to create the largest consumer book publisher in the world.

Analysts said the deal between Bertelsmann of Germany and Pearson of Britain would give the combined companies greater scale to deal with the challenges arising from the growth of electronic books and the power of Internet retailers.

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Together, Penguin Random House would have a global market share of more than 25 percent, and a book list that includes contemporary best-sellers like Random House’s ‘‘Fifty Shades of Grey’’ and Penguin’s back list of classics.

With e-book sales growing, publishers are increasingly worried about the leverage wielded by Internet giants like Google, Apple, and, especially, Amazon. These companies have huge resources to invest in new technology, including digital sales platforms and algorithms that steer people toward books that match their interests. Their scale gives them the power to negotiate better terms on book prices.

The remaining of the Big Six publishers could face increased pressure to respond to Penguin Random House, which will be based in New York.

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The other four are also owned by larger media conglomerates: HarperCollins, part of News Corp.; Macmillan, which is owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck of Germany; Hachette, whose parent company is Lagardere of France; and Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS.

The deal requires approval by regulators in the United States and Europe.

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