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Bertelsmann AG Financial Analysis ReportHistory Bertelsmann AG was founded in July 1835 by Carl Bertelsmann as a print shop. Initially the company concentrated on Christian books and songs. In 1849 Carl Bertelsmann's son Heinrich took over the publishing business, which employed 14, and extended the inventory of the publishing house to novels. At the time of his death in 1887, the staff had grown to 60. Next to head the company was Johannes Mohn, son-in-law of Heinrich.
The company's growth slowed during this period and the focus was redirected to theological subjects. In 1910 he introduced paid vacation to the company. By 1921, when he turned control of the company over to his son Heinrich, the company had grown to 85 people. Under the leadership of Heinrich Bertelsmann, the company experienced rapid growth and by 1939, the publishing house had grown to employ 400 people. New marketing channels were added as the readership became more mainstream in the late 1920's. On the verge of World War II, the company moved from classical literature and fiction to include books with militaristic themes and eventually published books with nationalistic, racial and anti-Semitic content.
The publisher insured its survival for most of the war by linking itself with the Nationalist Socialist ideology. Trouble started in 1944 when it was shut down by the German government as non-essential to the war effort and then crippled in March 1945 during an allied air raid on Gutersloh, in which only some of the printing machines survived. After the war, the publisher was rebuilt by the fifth generation to lead Bertelsmann, Reinhart Hohn, whose influence continues to the present. He took the company from a medium-size printing company to a media conglomerate. In 1950 he established the Reader's Circle, which bypassed the traditional marketing channels and allowed books to go directly to the reader.
Within a year, it had 100,000 members and by 1954 membership had reached 1,000,000. The LP label Ariola Records was founded in 1958 which signaled the company's entry into the music market. Bertelsmann entered the film industry with the purchase of Ufa Filmproduktionsgesellschaft in 1964. Mohn's transition of the company culminated in 1971 with incorporation. He remained CEO and was the majority shareholder.
The 1980's and 1990's saw an emphasis on foreign markets, which had begun in 1962 with Spain. In the United States, Arista Records (1979), Bantam Books (1980), Doubleday (1986), RCA (1986) and Windham Hill Records (1992) joined the Bertelsmann family. In the 1990's the company went digital with the establishment of AOL Europe and the network company mediaWays, Europe's second largest network provider, and in 1999 launched BOL, an international media shop. In 1998 Thomas Middelhoff became CEO and acquired Random House and concentrated book publishing in the United States under this label. The year 2000 saw the creation of the RTL Group, which was taken public.
It was the result of a merger between CLT-UFA and the British company Pearson TV. In 2002 Bertelsmann acquired Zomba, the world's largest independent music company. This move, along with the addition of superstars like the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears to its stable, pushed the BMG division into third place worldwide in music publishing. In August 2004, a 50/50 merger was completed with Sony Music Entertainment to create Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Among the labels included are: Arista, Columbia Records, Epic, Jive, J Records, LaFace, RCA Records, RLG-Nashville, Sony Music Nashville, Sony Classical, BMG UK, BMG Japan, BMG Ricordi and Sony Music International.
Financial Condition of CompanyCurrently Bertelsmann is a non-public stock corporation. Its capital shareholders are Bertelsmann Stiftung (57.6%), Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (25.1%) and the Mohn family (17.3%). Bertelsmann Verwaltungsgesellschaft controls 75% of the voting rights, representing the Mohn family and Bertelsmann Stiftung. The remaining 25% of the voting rights are controlled by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. The current CEO and CFO are Gunter Thielen and Siegfried Luther respectively, and the company employed over 76,000 people worldwide by the end of 2004. On March 17, 2005, Bertelsmann announced earnings of $1.28 billion on revenues of $21.17 billion.
The largest division within Bertelsmann is the RTG Group. It accounted for about 28% of total revenue in 2004, and is comprised of television (RTL II, SUPER RTL, VOX, n-tv, M6, Five, RTL 4, Yorin and RTL TV1), radio (Bel RTL, Yorin FM, RTL, RTL 2, Fun Radio, 104.6 RTL, and Radio Hamburg) and production (FremantleMedia, SPORTFIVE, teamWorx and UFA Film & TV Productions). These holdings are primarily European. It is one of the slowest growing divisions, showing an increase in revenue for 2004 of only 0.8%.The smallest division in terms of revenue in 2004 was Random House. It is made up of Ballantine (Ballantine Books, Ballantine Reader's Circle, Del Rey, Del Rey/LucasBooks, Fawcett, Ivy, One World and Wellspring), Bantam Dell Publishing Group (Bantam Hardcover, Bantam Mass Market, Bantam Trade Paperbacks, Crimeline, Delacorte Press, Dell, Delta, Domain, DTP, Fanfare, Island, Spectra and the Dial Press), Crown Publishing Group (Bell Tower, Clarkson Potter, Crown Business, Crown Publishers Inc., Harmony Books, Prima, Shaye Areheart Books, and Three Rivers Press), Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group (Broadway Books, Currency, Doubleday, Doubleday Image, Doubleday Religious Publishing, Main Street Books, Nan A.
Talese and Harlem Moon), Knopf Publishing Group (Alfred A. Knopf, Anchor, Everyman's Library, Pantheon Books, Schocken Books and Vintage), Random House Audio Publishing Group (Villard Books, the Modern Library, RH Trade Paperbacks and Striver's Row Books), Random House Children's Books (Dell/Delacorte/Dell Young Reader's Group, Alfred A. Knopf, Bantam, Crown, David Fickling Books, Delacorte Press, Dell Dragonfly, Dell Laurel-Leaf, Dell Yearling Books, Doubleday, and Wendy Lamb Books), Random House Diversified Publishing Group (RH Value Publishing), Random House Information Group (Fodor's Travel Publications, Living Language, Prima Games, Princeton Review, RH Espanol, RH Puzzles and Games, and RH Reference Publishing) and Waterbrook Press (Shaw Books and Fisherman Bible Study Guides). It accounted for about 10% of revenues, but was second in terms of growth at 2.8%. To Americans, this division is the most well-known of the Bertelsmann holdings. Interestingly, one of the major factors in the profitability of this division is the popularity of a novel by Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code".
It is the best selling novel in company history.Financial RatiosRatio 2004 2003 2002Short Term Liquidity Current Ratio 2.53 2.37 3.33Acid Test 1.33 1.22 1.57Capital Structure & Long Term Solvency Net Worth to Total Debt .74 .61 .54Net Worth to Long Term Debt 1.87 1.63 1.35Net Worth to Total Assets .42 .38 .35Return on Investment Return on Total Assets 5.9% 1.0% 4.2%Return on Equity Capital 15.8% 2.7% 12.5%Operating Performance Ratios Gross Margin Ratio 61.9% 62.5% 61.8%Operating Profits to Sales 10.3% 8.1% 7.1%Net Income to Sales 7.2% 1.2% 5.3%Asset Utilization Ratios Sales to Cash 8.13 10.23 18.74Sales to Accounts Receivables 6.02 5.52 5.63Sales to Working Capital 3.02 3.20 2.91Sales to Total Assets .81 .83 .83Current Ratio - measures the ability of the business to meet the maturing claims of creditors plus the current operating costs, and has a direct impact on the amount of short-term credit that may be granted.Acid Test - also called the quick ratio, it is a test of immediate solvency, and represents funds that may be made readily available for paying current obligations.Net Worth to Total Debt - measures relative amounts of resources provided by owners and creditors and reflects strengths and weaknesses in basic financing of operations.Net Worth to Long Term Debt - is similar to Net Worth to Total Debt ...
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