Media Insider: News Corp Bids On Simon & Schuster, Gannett Refinances, Twitter Launches “Fleets”

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s roundup of media stories from the week.

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Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Bids for Simon & Schuster

News Corp, owner of book publisher HarperCollins, has submitted a bid to buy Simon & Schuster. The publisher was put up for sale by its owner, ViacomCBS, in March and has since declined several inquiries. Penguin Random House and the French firm Vivendi have also submitted offers being considered by the company. Insiders say the current offers have topped $1.7 billion and final bids are due before Thanksgiving. A merger agreement with either Penguin Random House or HarperCollins, the two largest book publishers in the country, could raise questions in Washington and would have to undergo regulatory scrutiny.

ICYMI: Not Dead Yet: News Site Mistakenly Runs Dozens of V.I.P. Obituaries.

Twitter rolls out Stories, aka ‘Fleets,’ to all users; will also test a Clubhouse rival

Twitter has launched its own version of Stories, called Fleets, globally. Like Stories, the product allows users to post text, photos, and videos to Fleets directly, or share tweets into Fleets with a reaction. Twitter also announced it plans to test an audio-based social networking feature that will allow people to gather for live conversations. Critics believe Twitter is not ready to enter the new and untested space of audio-based social networking because the company has not yet proven it can successfully manage and combat online abuse, harassment, and trolling. Twitter Staff Product Designer Maya Gold Patterson addressed this concern in a briefing for reporters: “It’s critical that we get safety right — safety and people feeling comfortable in these spaces. We need to get that right in order for people to leverage live audio spaces in the ways we might imagine or in the ways that would be most helpful for them.”

More social media news from TechCrunch: Instagram expands new ‘Guides’ feature to all users, upgrades Search.

Gannett refinances $500M in debt in cost-savings move

Gannett announced it has refinanced $500 million in debt to save the company money on interest payments and reduce its liabilities. The newspaper publisher refinanced nearly one-third of the loan from private equity firm Apollo Global Management that financed the merger of GateHouse Media parent New Media Investment Group. Since the merger, Gannett’s top financial goals have been to reduce its debt as quickly as possible and eventually refinance to reduce its interest obligations. The refinancing will save Gannett about $28 million a year in interest payments and leaves $1.12 billion in debt owed to Apollo.

More on Gannett: 500 staffers at Gannett take voluntary buyouts that were offered to the company’s 21,000 workers in October.

Linda Pizzuti Henry named chief executive of Boston Globe Media Partners

Boston Globe Media Partners has named Linda Pizzuti Henry as its new chief executive officer. Henry has served as managing director of the Globe for over seven years and will be the first woman to run the company in its 150-year history. Additional appointments include: Dhiraj Nayar, chief financial officer and chief operating officer; Anthony Bonfiglio, chief technology officer; Tom Brown, vice president of consumer analytics; Claudia Henderson, chief people officer and executive vice president of organizational design and strategic communications; and Dan Krockmalnic, executive vice president of new media.

Related: Digiday Media announces three new additions to its editorial and business teams.

theSkimm Launches Interactive Product Rec Hub For The Holidays

This week, theSkimm launched an interactive product recommendation hub called “Home for the Holidays.” The digital shops highlight more than 300 products and roughly 80% of them are under $75. theSkimm’s gift finder provides personalized recommendations based on who the reader is shopping for and what kind of personality or interests they have. theSkimm will also release a Black Friday edition of its newsletter, The Daily Skimm, which will feature day-after-Thanksgiving recommendations on how to give back and what to buy, eat, and watch.

Read next: Self magazine launches “Checking In” podcast, a wellness-focused advice series.

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Erin Wade is a Senior Customer Content Specialist with PR Newswire. She is also an animal lover and aspiring world traveler. Tune into her insights as a social curator at @TotalCSR.

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