Bertelsmann operates in the core business fields of media and services in around 50 countries worldwide. Over the next few years, the education business is to be expanded as a third pillar. The geographic core markets are Western Europe – in particular Germany, France and the UK – and the United States. In addition, Bertelsmann is strengthening its involvement in growth markets such as China, India and Brazil. The Bertelsmann divisions are RTL Group (television), Penguin Random House (books), Gruner + Jahr (magazines), Arvato (services) and Be Printers (printing).
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a capital-market-oriented but unlisted partnership limited by shares. As a Group holding company, it exercises central corporate functions such as the development of the Group’s strategy, capital allocation, financing and management development. Internal corporate management and reporting follow the Group’s organizational structure, which consists of the operating divisions plus Corporate Investments and the Corporate Center.
RTL Group is the leading European entertainment network, with interests in 52 television channels and 29 radio stations and content production throughout the world. The television portfolio of RTL Group includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France and the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia and Hungary, as well as participation in Atresmedia in Spain and RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network in Southeast Asia. Fremantle Media is one of the largest international producers outside the United States. Combining the catch-up TV services of its broadcasters, the multichannel networks BroadbandTV and StyleHaul as well as Fremantle Media’s more than 210 YouTube channels, RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video. The publicly listed RTL Group S.A. is listed on the German MDAX index.
Penguin Random House is the world’s largest trade book publisher, with nearly 250 editorially independent imprints across five continents. The best-known publishing brands include illustrious publishing houses such as Doubleday, Viking and Alfred A. Knopf (United States); Ebury, Hamish Hamilton and Jonathan Cape (UK); Plaza & Janés (Spain) and Sudamericana (Argentina) as well as the international book publisher Dorling Kindersley. Each year Penguin Random House publishes over 15,000 new titles and sells over 800 million books, e-books and audio books. More than 100,000 English-, German- and Spanish-language Penguin Random House titles are now available as e-books. Germany’s Verlagsgruppe Random House, which includes illustrious publishing houses such as Goldmann and Heyne, is not part of Penguin Random House from a legal point of view, but is under the same corporate management and is part of the Penguin Random House operating division.
Gruner + Jahr is represented in over 20 countries with around 500 media activities, magazines and digital businesses. G+J Deutschland publishes well-known magazines such as “Stern,” “Brigitte” and “Geo.” Gruner + Jahr owns 59.9 percent of Motor Presse Stuttgart, one of Europe’s biggest special-interest magazine publishers. Gruner + Jahr’s largest foreign company is Prisma Media, a leading magazine publisher in France. Gruner + Jahr‘s publishing activities also include magazine, sales and marketing operations in Austria, China, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.
Arvato provides solutions for customers from a wide range of industries in over 35 countries via the Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM) , Financial Solutions, IT Solutions, Digital Marketing, Print Solutions and Replication Services Solution Groups.
Be Printers is an international printing group that operates gravure and offset printing plants at 11 production locations in Germany, the UK (Prinovis), Spain and the United States. In addition to magazines, catalogs, brochures and books, the production portfolio of Be Printers includes digital communication services.
Bertelsmann’s remaining operating activities are grouped under Corporate Investments. Among others, these include the strategic growth segments of music rights and education as well as the remaining club and direct-marketing businesses. Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI), Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) and other investments in the growth regions are also allocated to Corporate Investments.
Bertelsmann has television and radio operations in several European countries that are subject to regulation. In Germany, for example, media are subject to oversight by the Commission on Concentration in the Media. Bertelsmann Group companies occupy leading market positions in many lines of business and may therefore have limited potential for growth through acquisition due to antitrust legislation.
As its profit participation certificates and bonds are publicly listed, Bertelsmann is required to comply in full with capital-market regulations applicable to publicly traded companies.
Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is an unlisted partnership limited by shares. Three foundations (Bertelsmann Stiftung, Reinhard Mohn Stiftung and BVG-Stiftung) indirectly hold 80.9 percent of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA shares, with the remaining 19.1 percent held indirectly by the Mohn family. Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft (BVG) controls all voting rights at the General Meeting of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA and Bertelsmann Management SE.