Fundamental Information about the Group
In this Management Report, the Group is using the option to combine the Group Management Report and the Management Report of Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. This Combined Management Report outlines the business performance, including the business result and the position of the Bertelsmann Group and Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA. Information about Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA in accordance with the German Commercial Code (HGB) will be detailed in a separate section. The Combined Management Report will be published instead of the Group Management Report within the Bertelsmann Annual Report.
Bertelsmann operates in the core business fields of media and services as well as education in around 50 countries worldwide. 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. As of the balance sheet date December 31, 2015, the Bertelsmann divisions are RTL Group (television), Penguin Random House (books), Gruner + Jahr (magazines), Arvato (services) and Be Printers (printing). The revised reporting structure effective January 1, 2016, including the newly created Bertelsmann Printing Group and the future independent divisions of BMG, Bertelsmann Education Group and Bertelsmann Investments, is not yet shown in the present Consolidated Financial Statements.
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 57 television channels and 31 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 investment 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, StyleHaul and Divimove as well as Fremantle Media’s more than 230 YouTube channels, RTL Group has become the leading European media company in online video. Furthermore, RTL Group owns a majority stake in SpotX, one of the leading programmatic video advertising platforms. The publicly traded 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. Its book brands include storied imprints such as Doubleday, Viking and Alfred A. Knopf (United States), Ebury, Hamish Hamilton and Jonathan Cape (UK), Plaza & Janés and Alfaguara (Spain) and Sudamericana (Argentina), as well as the international imprint Dorling Kindersley. Each year Penguin Random House publishes over 15,000 new titles and sells nearly 800 million books, e-books and audio books. More than 110,000 English-, German- and Spanishlanguage 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 and the Netherlands.
Arvato designs and implements customized solutions for customers in a wide range of sectors in over 40 countries for all kinds of business processes. These comprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), Financial Solutions, IT Solutions and Digital Marketing, as well as print services and storage media replication.
Be Printers is an international printing group that operates gravure and offset printing plants in Germany and the UK (Prinovis) and also in the United States. In addition to magazines, catalogs, brochures and books, the product 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 and education as well as the club and direct marketing businesses, which are being phased out. Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI), Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI), Bertelsmann India Investments (BII), Bertelsmann Brazil Investments (BBI) 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. Moreover, some education activities are subject to regulatory provisions of government authorities and accreditation bodies.
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.