Record year for Bertelsmann Despite Failure to Acquire S&S

Bertelsmann, owners of Penguin Random House, reported the highest ever earnings in its history with revenues up 8.3% to €20.2bn in 2022.  For PRH as a whole revenues for the year rose 5% from €4bn to €4.2bn, and operating EBITDA declined 12% from €755m in 2021 to €666m.

In a letter to staff, PRH interim CEO Nihar Malaviya said the company had faced “an overall challenging environment”.  Although PRH’s figures by country are not given, Bertelsmann noted “Penguin Random House UK recorded moderate growth despite negative macroeconomic effects.”

Thomas Rabe, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, said: “2022 was a successful business year for Bertelsmann. Our revenues exceeded the 20-billion-euro mark. The Group’s restructuring and the strategy of the past decade are clearly having an impact. We are growing and are highly profitable, and will invest five to seven billion euros in our Boost strategy by 2026. In 2022 alone, our Boost investments totaled 1.6 billion euros.”

The report noted the failed attempt to buy Simon & Schuster last year and said:  “In November, Bertelsmann announced that it would no longer pursue the proposed acquisition by Penguin Random House of the international book publishing group Simon & Schuster. Previously, the US District Court in Washington, DC, had upheld a lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice opposing the purchase. Bertelsmann paid a contractually agreed termination fee to Paramount Global. At the end of the year, Markus Dohle stepped down as CEO of Penguin Random House. Malaviya, previously president and chief operating officer of Penguin Random House US, was appointed his interim successor.”