Bertelsmann: Penguin/HC merger report is 'speculation'

Random House parent company Bertelsmann has called a report surfacing in the German media that it is considering a merger with Penguin Books or HarperCollins "speculation". 

A paragraph in retail publication Manager Magazin, later repeated in book industry publications Boersenblatt and Buchreport, suggested a possible merger with either of the publishers was being considered as part of plans to strengthen the company's capital base. 

The Manager Magazin report, originally in German, primarily addressed the future of Bertelsmann-owned magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, but also said: "In order to strengthen the capital base of Bertelsmann, further actions are planned by c.e.o. Thomas Rabe: working to include partners in the various sectors, such as Random House, the largest English-language trade book publisher in the world, is being considered. A merger with Penguin Books, part of the British Pearson Group, is being discussed. HarperCollins would also be an option." 

Bertelsmann spokesperson Christian Steinhof said: "We have no comment. It is speculation in the media that we do not comment on."