Bertelsmann coffers swell

Revs up 23% over 1999 totals

BERLIN — German media giant Bertelsmann posted revenues of DM32 billion ($15.5 billion) in the fiscal year ended June 30. Behind AOL-Time Warner and CBS Viacom, the company ranks as the third biggest media group in the world.

The company’s vast array of businesses as well as its CLT/Ufa TV joint venture contributed to the 23% boost over last year’s result.

Following the sale of stakes in a number of its holdings, including AOL Europe and AOL Australia, to America Online, the group is expected to have some $11 billion for acquisitions and other investments, according to company officials.

Bertelsmann will be receiving $6.75 billion-$8.25 billion just for its AOL Europe stake.

The AOL sale could finance the group’s expansion in Asia and beef up its magazine business in the U.S., according to the company.

Bertelsmann has recently sought to strengthen its position in Europe through high-profile alliances with European partners, including Spanish telecom group Telefonica and U.K. entertainment group Pearson. It is also seeking to expand globally its online book and music shop BOL.

The Bertelsmann group, owned by the Bertelsmann Foundation and the Mohn family, boasts some 300 subsidiaries and around 73,000 employees in 54 countries.

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