Sales Soar at German Giant Bertelsmann Following Buying Spree

Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe

The publishing merger of Bertelsmann’s Random House with Penguin and the full takeover of music rights group BMG help the group to strong first quarter results.

German media giant Bertelsmann posted near double digit growth in the first quarter of 2014 as revenues from continuing operations rose 8.5 percent to $5.4 billion (€3.9 billion) driven by a series of high-profile acquisitions.

The mega-merger last year between Penguin and Bertelsmann’s Random House publishing business, along with Bertelsmann’s buyout of KKR’s stake in music rights group BMG helped  boost sales as did smaller deals including the takeover of Dutch electronic dance music publisher Talpa Music.

STORY: Bertelsmann to Acquire Full Control of BMG

Operating results hit a record $603 million  (€433 million) for the quarter. Net income fell to $145 million (€104 million) from $271 million (€207 million) in Q1 2013 but last year’s result benefited from a one-off revaluation of BMG which added $150 million (€114 million) to Bertelsmann’s bottom line.

Said Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe: “Our operating performance is good, and last year’s major transactions are paying off. We invested heavily in our content and services businesses in the first three months of 2014 and have made significant progress in putting our strategy into action.”

Going forward, Rabe said Bertelsmann would be expanding its education business with an eye to making the division a third pillar of the company’s operations, alongside media content and services. Rabe said Bertelsmann would be investing a nine-digit sum in acquiring companies in the education sector.