Rethinking Book Club Biz, Bertelsmann Disbands “Direct Group”

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

After scaling back its book club business over the last three years, Bertelsmann has announced that it is disbanding its Direct Group as a stand-alone division as of June 30th. The Bertelsmann group will then consist of the four remaining divisions RTL Group, Random House, Gruner + Jahr and Arvato.

In an official statement, Hartmut Ostrowski, Chairman & CEO of Bertelsmann AG, said: “As part of our strategy to improve the growth profile of Bertelsmann, we have gradually sold off Direct Group’s international operations since 2008. We reached another milestone with the divestment of the businesses in France, after having sold a number of other businesses earlier. The decision to reorganize the remaining Club businesses completes the scale-back of Direct Group, and thus concludes a large strategic task.”

Bertelsmann also announced that the remaining club and direct marketing businesses in German-speaking countries, Spain and Eastern Europe will now be run out of Corporate Investments, though still under the direction of Direct Group CEO Fernando Carro. Carro’s new responsibilities will include the development of growth opportunities in Central and South America and Spain.

He will also be called upon to review strategic options for the Eastern European distribution business in Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with signs pointing to disposal as a potential solution.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.