"We're proud and happy to welcome Perseus staff and authors to Hachette Book Group," Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch said in a statement. "This exciting acquisition adds a new program of extraordinary diversity, vibrancy, and strength to HBG's portfolio of publishers. It fits our strategic goals of growth and nonfiction expansion."
The sale of Perseus had been rumored since company founder Frank Pearl died in 2012. Besides releasing hundreds of books a year, Perseus has also been a top distributor for smaller publishers, with Publishers Group West and Consortium Book Sales & Distribution among its clients.
"As CEO, one of my most critical responsibilities is to forge the right future for our people, our authors, our books and our client publishers," Perseus CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. "We greatly admire Hachette and Ingram as two companies with deep and long-standing commitments to the world of publishing and the written word."
Steinberger is stepping down after the completion of the sale, which is subject to government approval, but will serve as a consultant for Hachette "for a period." The deal is expected to close by July 31.
Hachette's acquisition of Perseus could increase its bargaining position with Amazon, which is reportedly seeking a larger cut of e-book sales and numerous other changes in contract terms.
Tuesday's announcement also continues a series of mergers and purchases over the past two years, including the combining of Random House Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) and HarperCollins' acquisition of the romance publisher Harlequin. Almost exactly one year ago, Disney sold more than 1,000 works published by Hyperion to Hachette, owned by the French conglomerate Lagardere.
Hachette, which reported a drop in sales during the first quarter of 2014, recently announced it was laying off about 3 percent of its New York staff. Among those let go were Pat Strachan, Tom Wolfe's longtime editor.