Sources are reporting that KKR is buying Simon and Schuster, probably currently the biggest publisher of Peanuts thanks to their Little Simon-published storybooks, from the current owner, Paramount.
Sometimes, when one company buys another, it makes no real difference, just a slight change in letterhead. However, KKR isn’t a media company like Paramount. They are the world’s second-largest private equity firm. They have a history of buying companies, selling off individual assets, pulling debt tricks, and selling what remains off. Sometimes they make a big profit, sometimes not, but the company is often not the same in the end. They were part of the consortium that bought out Toys R Us, and, well, have you shopped at your local Toys R Us lately? They bought Regal Cinemas in 1998, the chain filed bankruptcy in 2000. They’ve bought or invested in all kinds of businesses: major food manufacturers, software companies, supermarkets, auto parts, real estate loans, landscaping, energy, you name it. They are in the business of business.
So, will this mean some changes for Simon and Schuster? I’d bet yes. Will it mean changes for their Peanuts books? Less likely, but we shall see!