Bertelsmann at a Glance

Bertelsmann at a Glance

Description of the Business

Bertelsmann operates in the core business fields of media, services and education in around 50 countries worldwide. The geographic core markets are Western Europe – in particular, Germany, France and the United Kingdom – and the United States. In addition, Bertelsmann is strengthening its involvement in growth markets such as Brazil, India and China. The Bertelsmann divisions are RTL Group (entertainment), Penguin Random House (books), BMG (music), Arvato Group (services), Bertelsmann Marketing Services (direct marketing and print activities), Bertelsmann Education Group (education) and Bertelsmann Investments (venture capital activities and Bertelsmann Next growtharea).

Organizational Structure

Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA is a capital market-oriented but unlisted partnership limited by shares. As a Group holding company, it exercises central corporate functions. Its internal corporate management and reporting follow the Group’s organizational structure, which consists of the operating divisions and Corporate.


Bertelsmann’s strategic focus is on a fast-growing, digital, international and diversified Group portfolio. Businesses in which Bertelsmann invests should have long-term stable growth, global reach, sustainable business models, high market-entry barriers and scalability. The strategy pursues five growth priorities: national media champions, global content, global services, education and investments. The following topics form the basis for the successful implementation of the strategy: tech & data, people, communication and ESG. The Boost strategy, implemented in 2021 to accelerate the growth dynamic, will also increase investment in the years to come. The Group aims to grow in both existing and new lines of business through organic initiatives and acquisitions. By the end of 2026, €5 to €7 billion is to be invested as part of its Boost strategy. Bertelsmann made the following progress along its five growth priorities in the 2023 financial year. In terms of strategy, Bertelsmann made the following progress along the five growth priorities in the 2023 financial year.

National Media Champions

For the national media champions, RTL Group achieved continued strong growth in the streaming business. The streaming services RTL+ in Germany, 6play in France and RTL+ in Hungary increased the number of paying subscribers by 30.5 percent to a combined total of 5.6 million; streaming revenues in 2023 grew by 72.6 percent to €283 million (previous year: €164 million). In Germany, the RTL+ content offering was also expanded and now includes series, reality content, live sports, films, music, audiobooks, podcasts and magazine titles of Gruner + Jahr in an all-inclusive entertainment app. In February 2023, RTL Deutschland announced a reorganization of the publishing business in order to increase the focus on core brands going forward, into which around €80 million is to be invested by 2025. RTL Deutschland secured attractive sports rights through 2027 by renewing its exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights for the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League. RTL Hungary acquired broadcasting and streaming rights for the UEFA Champions League for the first time, starting with the 2024/25 season. Furthermore, RTL Deutschland launched cross-media broadcasting of the NFL.

Global Content

Bertelsmann continued to invest in the expansion of the global content businesses. The RTL Group subsidiary Fremantle signed first-look deals with Oscar-nominated producers Edward Berger and Amy Berg. Penguin Random House continued to expand the book publishing business through acquisitions and organic growth – including through an increase of its shareholding in the US publisher Sourcebooks, the subsequent acquisition of the publishing assets of the nonfiction US publisher Callisto Media, and creative successes such as Prince Harry’s “Spare.” BMG announced its plan to take over digital sales of its artists’ music itself going forward and, within the framework of the Boost strategy, continued to invest in music catalogs. Furthermore, BMG concluded numerous artist contracts and, among other things, entered into a worldwide record label and publishing partnership with global superstar Jennifer Lopez.

Global Services

Global services were also further expanded. The global network of locations of the Arvato logistics business (formerly Arvato Supply Chain Solutions) was expanded through the establishment of new distribution centers and the expansion of existing ones, particularly in the United States, Poland and Spain. In addition, new customers were acquired in sectors including healthcare, tech and fashion. The financial services provider Riverty advanced its development of new business models and further improvement of existing ones. These included services related to the topic of “mobility as a service” and “in-store buy now pay later” solutions. The IT service provider Arvato Systems succeeded in gaining new customers from the energy and healthcare sectors. The acquisition of Majorel by Teleperformance was completed. The customer experience company was therefore deconsolidated as of November 1, 2023. Since April, the direct marketing and printing activities that were previously combined under Bertelsmann Printing Group have been operating under the new Bertelsmann Marketing Services brand. The content agency Territory has also been included under the direct marketing business since the beginning of 2023. Bertelsmann Marketing Services also announced that it would be closing the gravure printing plant at the Ahrensburg location in Germany on January 31, 2024.


Bertelsmann Education Group’s education business benefited from the continued favorable market developments for training in the field of healthcare. Afya, a leading provider of medical education and training and digital solutions for medical practitioners in Brazil, continued its dynamic growth and completed the acquisition of two medical universities in Brazil, UNIMA and FCM Jaboatão. Furthermore, the stake in Afya was increased with additional share acquisitions in the open market. As of December 31, 2023, Bertelsmann held 61 percent of the voting rights and – after adjustment of shares held by Afya – 49.6 percent of the equity. Relias, a leading provider of mandatory and advanced training and career development for professionals in the US healthcare system, has risen to tenth place in the annual ranking of the global “Top 100 Healthcare Technology Companies.” Alliant, which specializes in psychology, nursing and teaching degrees, opened its new campus, the Alliant School of Nursing and Health Sciences, in Phoenix, United States, in April.

Investment Portfolio

Bertelsmann expanded its investment portfolio with 35 new and 16 follow-on investments during the reporting period. As of the end of 2023, Bertelsmann Investments (BI) held a total of 363 investments through its international funds. Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) participated in a further funding round for ClearMotion, a global automobile technology company. Among other things, Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) entered into a follow-on investment in the Indian fintech platform Rupeek, and Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) concluded a variety of new and follow-on investments, amongst others in Percent, an online marketplace for debt capital, and in the SaaS platform company Tracer, which optimizes and aggregates marketing data. The growth area Bertelsmann Next increased its engagement in the digital health sector through various direct and follow-on investments. Here, BI participated in a funding round for the Berlin-based health-tech company Patient21 and in the AI start-up QuantHealth. Furthermore, BI expanded its portfolio in the pharma-tech sector further by investing in Author-it Software Corporation with its Docuvera platform. BI accelerated the expansion of the HR-tech company Embrace by acquiring Studyflix, the German-speaking region’s largest career platform for students, and the HR-solution provider Milch & Zucker.