Book Business Bertelsmann May Raise Stake in Penguin Random House

German media giant Bertelsmann signals that it may buy the 47 percent of Penguin Random House it doesn't own yet, from struggling London publishing house Pearson.

Bertelsmann is open to increasing its share in the world’s biggest trade publishing group, Penguin Random House, the German media group said on Wednesday.

Bertelsmann's statement came hours after British joint venture partner Pearson issued a major profit warning and said it might sell its stake. Pearson holds a 47 percent stake in Penguin Random House and Bertelsmann holds a majority 53 percent stake.

Pearson said that its net revenues fell 30 percent during the final quarter of 2016 resulting in an "unprecedented" 18 percent decline for the full year.

Pearson’s chief executive John Fallon said: "We have already taken significant steps on restructuring, reducing our cost base by 375 million pounds last year. However our higher education business declined further and faster than expected in 2016." After the statement, shares in Pearson plunged 30 percent, on course for their worst day ever and wiping 1.9 billion pounds from the company's value.

In 2013, the two companies Bertelsmann and Pearson combined their book-publishing businesses Random House and Penguin to form the new company Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann has been the majority owner since the outset. According to the companies' agreements, Pearson has the option of issuing an exit notice from January 1, 2017.