German media group Bertelsmann said it expects revenue to increase due to acquisitions after sales and profit rose last year. In 2012, revenue rose 4.5% to 16.1 billion euros ($20.7 billion), helped by Random House’s bestsellers and the German TV business. Net profit increased to EUR484 million from EUR465 million and return on sales was 10.8%.
Bertelsmann plans to spend as much as 3 billion euros ($3.9 billion) on acquisitions over the next three years as it seeks to grow and limit its reliance on Europe. The planned sale of a 17.3 percent stake in broadcaster RTL Group SA plus about an annual 500 million euros of net cash flow will fill Bertelsmann’s war chest, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Rabe told reporters in Berlin today. The company will focus on individual deals worth “a couple hundred millions of euros” rather than a single big acquisition that “wouldn’t fit Bertelsmann’s risk profile,” he said.
Rabe, who took office at the beginning of last year, is overhauling Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann’s portfolio with a push into music rights, education and emerging markets. The company, which benefited from the best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Grey” last year, still relies in Europe for 80 percent of sales.
“It is our clear objective to grow the company in the next couple of years,” the CEO said. “Assuming a little bit of tailwind from a recovery in Europe, we expect to grow to 17 billion euros this year and 18 billion euros in the next.”