News Corp. in Early Talks With CBS Corp. to Buy Simon & Schuster; Would Create Second Book-Publishing Giant (Report)

Rupert Murdoch
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News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's total compensation was up only minimally in fiscal 2010 and reached $22.7 million. The change came despite financial growth in key areas, the massive success from Avatar and a rebounding advertising market. The company's compensation committee highlighted that adjusted earnings per share dropped though. Murdoch's  salary remained the same, at $8.1 million, but his performance-based pay fell nearly 20 percent to $4.4 million. The value calculated for his pension rose though, pushing up his total for the year.

News of the possible deal, which would merge News Corp.'s HarperCollins with the publisher, follows on the heels of Random House and Penguin's merger announcement.

News Corp.-owed HarperCollins is in very early talks to buy CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

The deal could potentially be worth between $2 billion and $3 billion, according to reports.

ANALYSIS: What the Random House-Penguin Merger Means for Authors

The news comes on the heels of another big merger in the publishing world, that of Random House and Penguin, whose deal was announced Oct. 29. The companies are expected to become Penguin Random House late next year.

Pending approval, German media conglomerate Bertelsmann will own 53 percent of the new venture, and U.K.-based Pearson 47 percent. The company will boast $4 billion in revenue and control about 25 percent of the worldwide consumer book market.

News Corp. reportedly made a bid for Penguin too, offering $1.6 billion for the publishing house.

Meanwhile, a HarperCollins/Simon & Schuster merger would reduce the publishing world's current "big six" companies to two large publishers and two smaller ones, Macmillan and Hachette, as noted by the L.A. Times.