Expansion in Growth Regions
Bertelsmann is active in approximately 50 countries, with a strong presence in Europe and the U.S.. To make its business portfolio even more international, one of Bertelsmann’s strategic priorities lies on the expansion in growth regions. Currently, the corporate strategy focuses on three countries: Brazil, India and China. These three countries are among the top ten largest economies in terms of nominal GDP and are on a growth path: Bertelsmann CEO Thomas Rabe says: “Due to the demographic development, the growing middle class and their growing purchasing power in these countries, demand for digital media, services and education is increasing rapidly. Accordingly, we will continue to expand our businesses in all three countries in the years ahead and step up our investment here.”
Bertelsmann’s divisions have been active in Brazil, India and China for many years. RTL Group’s Fremantle Media has produced and licensed hit shows like „Idol“, „Got Talent“ and „X-Factor“ in all three countries. The cooperation between RTL Group and CBS Studios International has created RTL CBS Asia Entertainment Network which markets pay-TV channels in several countries of Southeast Asia. Its program schedule consists of international hit shows such as CBS’s “Elementary”, “Under the Dome” and RTL Group’s “Asia’s Got Talent”. The latter, produced by Fremantle Media Asia, had a fabulous start in 2015 with impressive viewing figures and is already airing in 20 countries in Asia.
Penguin Random House (PRH) is India’s biggest English trade publisher, and also holds a significant stake in Companhia das Letras, one of the leading book publishing groups in Brazil. Penguin Random House is also present in China, where it primarily sells imported English-language books.
Arvato offers services such as supply chain management (SCM), customer relationship management (CRM) and digital marketing in all three growth regions. Its clients include big international companies ranging from automotive and consumer brands to technology providers. Moreover, in 2015 Arvato expanded its business activities in Brazil by acquiring a stake in the financial service provider Intervalor.
Corporate Centers and Investments
To further expand its presence in the growth regions and optimally manage its local activities, Bertelsmann has opened Corporate Centers in New Delhi, São Paulo and Beijing in recent years. They support local Bertelsmann companies with business development across the various divisions, knowledge transfer, and Bertelsmann’s positioning in the markets. In addition to the Corporate Centers, Bertelsmann has strategic investment arms in the three countries which are investing in new growth areas with a focus on digital media and higher education.
In China, Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) has invested in more than 40 companies and fund-of-funds since it was established in 2008, for example in iClick, a leading online performance marketing provider. The fund has an impressive investment track record and has already realized several successful exits, e.g. CDEL and BitAuto. BAI has repeatedly been included in lists of China’s top investors.
Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) has invested in digital media companies such as the furniture and home furnishings portal Pepperfry, India’s leading music-streaming service Saavn, and the real-estate portal Indiaproperty. In the higher education sector, investments were made in the online learning platform WizIQ and the educational services provider iNurture.
In Brazil, Bertelsmann has also realized several investments in the digital media sector, but the focus lies on education. Investments to date include the fund Bozano Educational II, which focuses on health education and Affero Lab, one of Brazil’s leading corporate training providers.
Going forward, Bertelsmann plans to expand its activities in the growth regions at both the divisional and the corporate level. Shobhna Mohn, Executive Vice President Growth Regions: “International expansion is one of our strategic priorities. Brazil, India and China hold great opportunities for Bertelsmann’s target markets. Accordingly, we will increase our business presence in all three countries in the years ahead.”