Random House of Canada has become the sole owner of McClelland & Stewart, taking over the 75 per cent that had belonged to the University of Toronto.

Random House of Canada, a unit of international publisher Random House, which is itself owned by Germany's Bertelsmann, announced the deal Tuesday, saying it already has regulatory approval for the takeover from Heritage Minister James Moore.

Since 2000, Random House has had a 25 per cent stake in McClelland & Stewart, a Canadian publisher established in 1906 with a renowned stable of authors that includes Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Rohinton Mistry, Farley Mowat and Michael Ondaatje. 

The decline in sales of print books, pressure from digital publishing and the difficult economy have put financial pressure on McClelland & Stewart in the past few years, according to Random House president Brad Martin.   

Random House has been supporting its sales, production, human resources and accounting for the last 11 years.

Martin said McClelland & Stewart will be better positioned under its new ownership.   

"We believe with McClelland & Stewart fully within the Random House of Canada family we will more effectively be able to meet these challenges to ensure the growth and long-term stability of this iconic Canadian publisher," he said.

In a release Tuesday afternoon, Random House said it had made long-term commitments to the publishing house,including:

  • Keeping the McClelland & Stewart imprint.
  • Retaining the New Canadian Library, Emblem Editions and Signal imprints.
  • Funding the M&S Poetry program.
  • Funding the Journey Prize (for short stories).
  • Growing children's imprint Tundra Books.

A Random House spokeswoman said via email there would be no layoffs.

McClelland & Stewart president Doug Pepper will continue to run the company and will report to Random House president Martin.

No financial terms were revealed.

With files from Canadian Press