February 13, 2015

Bertelsmann continues to take on the world. Next up: Brazil, China, and India


Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 6.18.41 PMBertelsmann, the German media giant that owns that little publisher Penguin Random House, has decided to grow in the education and digital media markets abroad. The company announced yesterday that it plans to grow by $1.13 billion by the “middle term.” The biggest just keep on getting bigger.

At the moment, there are 7,500 employees in Brazil, China, and India. Sixty executives met in New Delhi to discuss the next move. They plan to expand drastically in these three countries, ostensibly starting with the new hires pictured on the right.

In an interview for Business Standard, Chief Executive Thomas Rabe says:

Brazil, China and India are among the largest economies in the world. In these countries, demographic trends, a growing middle class, and their increasing purchasing power are causing a rapid rise in demand for digital media, services and education….

Accordingly, we will massively expand our businesses in all three countries in the years ahead and increase investment here. Our medium-term goal is to generate revenues of around one billion euros in our growth regions.

The giant continues to increase its global presence, and it may soon be expanding its control over the world’s largest publisher. Bertelsmann currently holds a 53% stake in Penguin Random House, but it plans to increase its share this year. Pearson Plc owns the other 47% and may be willing to part with some or all of that total, according to Bloomberg News.

The plan has been in the works since October. When Bertelsmann finishes taking over a few countries and knitting tiny sweaters for the world’s penguins, we’ll let you know its next move. (For now, they’re outsourcing the sweaters to this 109-year-old man in Australia.)



Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.