Bertelsmann has provided yet more irrefutable evidence of how hollow, fake, and self-serving the whole Hachette/Authors United anti-Amazon spat was, as the post-Penguin/Random House-merger, post-digital disruption Big Five giant delivers its highest year-to-date revenue results for the past seven years. “Revenues at September 30, 2014 were up 4.3 percent year-on-year to €11.82 billion [$14.74 billion] (previous year: €11.33 billion [$14.1 billion]), reaching their highest level in seven years,” the Bertelsmann press release stated. “The strategic transactions of the past 18 months contributed significantly to these increases – including the combination of Penguin and Random House, Arvato’s takeover of the financial services company Gothia and the e-commerce service provider Netrada, and the acquisition of full ownership in the music rights company BMG. The EBITDA margin was 12.5 percent (previous year: 12.9 percent).”

The results for book publishing were not cited among the major growth factors, at least in the press release, despite good results from the Penguin Random House combination in the previous quarter. Impairment of group profits, down to €285 million ($355.5 million) at September 30, 2014, from €623 million ($777 million) at the same time last year, was attributed partly to “costs for the integration of Penguin and Random House and for downscaling the direct-to-customer businesses in Germany.” However, overall the group reported positively on execution of its expansion and digital transformation strategies.

“We are very happy with the financial year to date. Overall, we have exceeded our expectations: Bertelsmann is growing, is very profitable, and is making good progress in the implementation of its strategy,” Bertelsmann’s Chairman & CEO Thomas Rabe said. “We will resolutely continue on our course to ensure that Bertelsmann becomes a faster growing, more digital and more international company long-term.”


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