Will Bertelsmann go in search of cash pile?
DO INVESTORS have an appetite to invest in media companies that go public? Bertelsmann, Europe’s largest media company, may soon be testing the waters, following its appointment this week of a new chief financial officer, Judith Hartmann.
The move is seen as a precursor to the securing of outside investment and potentially an initial public offering by the 177-year-old group controlled by the Mohn family, which has always resisted flotation.
The company, founded and headquartered in Germany, owns Europe’s largest broadcaster, RTL Group, as well as entertainment production giant FremantleMedia – which co-produces The X Factor through its subsidiary Talkback Thames.
Its assets also include its music rights management unit, publisher Random House and magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr.
Bertelsmann’s most recent figures showed an increase in revenues and earnings, with group profit increasing to €147 million for the first quarter of 2012, up from €94 million. However the group, headed by Thomas Rabe, admitted in March that it needed fresh capital if it was to finance major growth projects.