A new chapter in the 77 year history of book publisher Penguin was written today as it signed a deal to merge with rival Random House.
The new venture, Penguin Random House, will have an estimated one quarter share of the market for English language book sales and should generate annual revenues in the region of £2.5 billion.
Penguin's owner Pearson, which also publishes the Financial Times, will have a 47% stake with Random House's German owner Bertelsmann holding the rest.
The deal still requires regulatory clearance and is not expected to complete until the second half of next year.
Unveiling today's deal, the two companies said the tie-up will deliver "significant benefits" such as shared resources and a greater level of investment in authors and products than would be possible as standalone firms.
London-based Penguin employs 5,500 people worldwide, with around 950 in the UK. Random House has 5,300 staff globally and last year its sales accounted for just under 15% of the UK market, compared with Penguin's 11%.