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Bertelsmann’s Revenue Growth Amid Economic Uncertainties

Bertelsmann, the owner of Penguin Random House (PRH), boosted its revenue by 4.5% to €9.7 billion for the first half of 2023 and praised moves by PRH US which saw the publisher report 9% revenue growth for the period.

Bertelsmann Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe said: “We look back on a good first half of 2023 and are happy with Bertelsmann’s business performance. The Group’s transformation, with the establishment of new businesses and, above all, our Boost strategy, is increasingly making itself felt. And so, despite a difficult macroeconomic environment, our company posted record revenues and a high operating result.”

The Boost strategy looks at those lines of business that benefit from digitalisation.

The group noted that in the U.S., Penguin Random House increased its stake in the publisher Sourcebooks to a majority interest, and in so doing acquired the publishing assets of the nonfiction publisher Callisto Media. It said: ‘Both are among the fastest-growing publishers in the U.S.’   It added that in May, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial acquired Barcelona-based Roca Editorial, one of Spain’s leading independent publishers.

In a letter sent to all global employees following the release of the financial update, Nihar Malaviya, CEO of PRH, said he was “pleased to share” the results, but noted that the increased revenue had not translated into an increase in profits.

“This should come as no surprise, as industry inflationary cost pressures and increased costs across our businesses have continued to impact us,” he said.  “We have already taken several steps to offset these pressures in some of our markets around the world and will continue to carefully navigate these industry and structural dynamics.”

Malaviya said that PRH’s increased revenues were due to “continued stability in book markets around the world, the excellent publishing performance from most of our businesses, and continued small-company acquisitions”.  He added: “Book markets in most of our businesses are stable versus 2022 and higher than pre-Covid levels from 2019. This is a positive development for the long-term health of our industry. Despite the macroeconomic uncertainties in most of the countries in which we operate, readers are still gravitating to books to provide them with a unique experience they can’t get from anything else.”

 

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