New Heights in the Book-publishing Business – And the Return of Music

The book publishing business – the erstwhile nucleus of Bertelsmann – is taken to new heights

Bertelsmann and the international media company Pearson combine their global book publishing businesses on July 1, 2013. Only the German publishers are excluded from the merger and are still directly owned by Bertelsmann. With Penguin Random House, the largest trade book publishing group in the world is created, with Bertelsmann owning 53 percent and Pearson 47 percent. For the 250 individual publishers and their authors, this ensures the best possible conditions for new growth across all types of media and sales channels. Through acquisitions, Penguin Random House subsequently also becomes the number one in the Spanish-language literature market. The proportion of digital revenues in Penguin Random House’s total revenues continues to grow: In 2014, the e-book portfolio exceeds 100,000 titles and the group’s publishers sell more than 100 million e-books.
Bertelsmann also achieves a milestone in the music business. After the Group had withdrawn from the traditional music business earlier, and then teamed up with partners to founded a new music rights company completely tailored to the needs of artists in the digital age, in 2013 music makes a complete return to Bertelsmann. The Group acquires all outstanding shares in BMG Rights Management and since then has been fully committed to the young subsidiary’s expansion. In 2015, the "new" BMG is already the fourth-largest music publisher in the world with rights to more than 2.5 million songs and recordings, and exceptional artists such as “Rolling Stones” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on its roster.
The funds for expansion are available: In 2013, Bertelsmann successfully places 25.5 million shares of RTL Group and uses the proceeds to invest in the Group’s transformation.

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