Bertelsmann Eyes Stateside Expansion

11 September 2002

Bertelsmann ceo Gunter Thielen plans to expand the German media giant’s music and magazine interests in America.

Despite weeks of upheaval at the group following the surprise departure of Thomas Middelhoff [WAMN: 29-Jul-02], Thielen is sticking to his predecessor’s plan of preparing Bertelsmann for an IPO in 2005.

He intends to do this by focusing on the US, which he describes as “our most important market without question”, and in particular on the American magazine units and the BMG music group. Also earmarked for expansion are Bertelsmann’s European TV interests.

However, Thielen does not intend to make any major purchases. Instead, growth will driven by improved profitability and the occasional smaller acquisition. Moving all Bertelsmann’s units into the black is his highest priority.

The ceo also revealed that the group, which recently unveiled plans to sell academic publisher BertelsmannSpringer and etailer, would not be making any more major disposals in the near future.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff