Christian Teichmann, Managing Director of Burda's international growth capital arm BurdaPrincipal Investments (BPI), looks back on the past few months and explains what companies need to focus on now.
With consolidated external sales of 2.67 billion euros in the 2017 financial year, Hubert Burda Media grew by 18 percent over the previous year. This positive development is the result of a consistent growth strategy in all four operating divisions. Burda invested 470 million euros in expanding its business. CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen explains: "Innovation is the most important driver of Burda's success. The pleasing growth in sales and earnings is due to our constant striving for innovative products, technologies and business models. We will keep exploiting actively the great opportunities offered by digitization and develop our business sustainably“.
The National Digital Brands division grew significantly by 19 percent to 1.4 billion euros in 2017, contributing 52 percent to Burda's total sales. Among the most successful digital companies in terms of sales in 2017 are Xing and the two e-commerce companies Cyberport and Computeruniverse. The physician’s evaluation platform Jameda further expanded its market-leading position in digital physician-patient communication in 2017, among other things through the acquisition of the technology company Patientus, which enables digital consultation hours. In 2017, digital publisher BurdaForward gradually developed into a provider of platforms that play partner content on an equal footing with its own content. Under the name "Focus Local", Germany's most successful news site (22 Mio Unique Users/ Month) hereby creates e.g. a new digital offer of regional messages.. HolidayCheck Group AG has strategically focused on the travel segment and thus recorded revenue growth in 2017.
In 2017, Burda's majority stake Cliqz acquired the Ghostery brand as well as the Ghostery retail business including products, user base and a team in New York. Cliqz combines the key technologies browser and search to redesign the user interface of the Internet. More than 100 experts from more than 30 countries are developing innovative software that brings users to their destination as directly as possible while fully respecting their privacy. With its own web index, Cliqz is a constructive alternative to the dominant platforms.
The National Media Brands division also grew in terms of sales in 2017. The German magazine business has successfully continued its transformation, operates a large number of sustainable and lucrative business models and generates revenues beyond the traditional sales and advertising revenues through direct interaction with consumers.
In aggregating their reach, the digital women's offerings of Bunte, Freundin, InStyle, Elle and Harper´s Bazaar became one of the strongest journalistic destinations for women on the net with around 12 million unique users in 2017. Blue Ocean continues to achieve above-average growth with children's publications and with international licenses for magazines relating to the strong children's brands. The international content marketing company C3, in which Burda now holds 85 percent, also grew.
The investment company BurdaPrincipal Investments provides long-term growth capital for fast-growing technology and media companies and invested in Great Britain and Asia in 2017. In addition to the existing investments (e.g. Notonthehighstreet; Showroom, Vinted), the company also acquired stakes in the British online flower company Bloom & Wild, the American direct-to-consumer platform M.Gemi and the Asian fashion platform Zilingo.
Most of the sales growth in the International Media Brands division is attributable to the complete acquisition of the media company Immediate Media, a platform for both the magazine and digital consumer business in the United Kingdom. Immediate Media is strong in content, technology and e-commerce and has a large and loyal consumer base. With Burda Education, the international team has built up one of the world's largest producers of textbooks and teaching materials. The company, which focuses on India and Africa, not only produces textbooks and teaching materials, but also supports their design, production, delivery and distribution processes.
Revenues in the printing segment (i.e. in the European gravure printing business) were slightly below the previous year's level despite comparable capacity utilization.
In total, Burda's global portfolio includes around 600 printed and digital media products. At the end of 2017 Burda employed 11,918 people working in a total of 252 independent companies. Burda has been organized in a profit center structure for many years and sees itself as a "company for entrepreneurs".