Random House Freezes DB

November 21, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The country's largest trade publisher, Random House Inc., has frozen the pensions of its current employees and eliminated them for future hires, the Associated Press reports.

Spokesman Stuart Applebaum said in a statement in response to a query from The Associated Press that the company will continue to offer matching funds, up to 6% of deferrals, in its 401k plans.

According to Applebaum, talk of cutting pension had been going on for years, although changes at Random House have been expected since Markus Dohle replaced Peter Olson in May as chairman of the publisher’s worldwide operations. “A significant dropoff in customer traffic and consumer spending impacted our business in the third quarter,” Chief Executive Steve Riggio said in a statement, according to the AP.

Random House is owned by Germany media company Bertelsmann AG.

A Random House division, the Doubleday Publishing Group, announced last month that it had laid off 16 people. “South Beach Diet” publisher Rodale Inc. recently laid off 14 from its book division.