Ad Drought ‘Has Stabilized’: Bertelsmann

31 July 2003

German media group Bertelsmann, the globe’s second largest after AOL Time Warner, is making bullish noises about the state of Europe’s advertising economy. Pronounced ceo Gunter Theilen: “We feel that the situation has stabilised... we expect advertising to increase next year.”

And since it’s never a bad career move to agree with your boss, RTL Group chief executive Gerhard Zeiler said he felt likewise. “The second quarter was significantly better than the first,” he noted. “Nobody believes it can get any worse any more.” RTL is Europe’s largest broadcaster.

In a conference call to analysts and the media, Theilen also revealed the group has appeased the all-powerful US credit rating agencies with an undertaking not to make any large acquisitions before banking the €1.05 billion ($1.19bn; £0.74bn) from the sale of its science publishing unit BertelsmannSpringer to investment banks Cinven and Candover. The deal still awaits the green light from US regulators.

Thielen also said that Bertelsmann’s BMG unit, fifth among the globe’s top five music companies, is “too small if we stay alone”. His comment is seen as a signal that merger of BMG with AOL Time Warner’s Warner Music could be on the cards.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff