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News Corp to purchase ‘Lord of the Rings’ titles

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News Corp will pay $349 million to buy the publisher of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and other J.R.R. Tolkien books.

The purchase means that the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media segment of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be a part of News Corp, the company announced Monday. 

The segment will be operated by News Corp subsidiary HarperCollins Publishers, which already owns the rights to J.R.R. Tolkien’s works in the British Commonwealth.

Besides the Tolkien titles, the purchase also means it will have control over George Orwell titles “1984” and “Animal Farm” and “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren.

The deal gives News Corp control of 7,000 titles in total. The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media segment also owns rights to children’s titles such as “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,” “Curious George,” “The Polar Express,” “The Little Prince” and “Stellaluna.”

In 2020, the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media segment saw net sales of $191.7 million, according to the announcement, and the combinations of its operations with that of HarperCollins will result, within two years, in savings of $20 million annually in manufacturing, distribution and other costs.

The deal includes the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books and Media production organization called HMH Productions which helps produce the animated series “Carmen Sandiego” on Netflix and has other television projects.

The transaction still requires regulatory approval, the announcement stated.

Last Thursday, News Corp announced it will be buying Investor’s Business Daily from O’Neil Capital Management for $275 million.

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