In remarks accompanying the release of Bertelsmann's 2005 operating results, the parent company of Random House cited the publisher's worldwide reach as a key to its success. In the year, total revenue rose 2.1%, to 1.83 billion euros ($2.2 million), while earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose 18.5%, to 166 million euros ($201 million).
The fastest-growing division last year was the London-based Random House UK, while the German group benefited from the purchase of three imprints from FAZ. Random House Mondadori in Spain and Latin America had a solidly profitable year. In North America, Random House of Canada had a record year. Comments on the U.S. operations did not specifically address the sales performance, noting only that all divisions were profitable.
Overall, Random generated 10% of Bertelsmann's total revenue. Despite the small portion of Bertelsmann's total business Random represents, Bertelsmann chairman Gunter Thielen said the publisher is one of the businesses that he couldn't imagine Bertelsmann selling. He was reacting to questions about what Bertelsmann might do later this year now that Groupe Bruxelles Lambert has the right to ask for a Bertelsmann public offering. GBL owns a 25% stake in Bertelsmann. If Bertelsmann wants to avoid an IPO, it could buy out GBL's shares, a move that may require the sale of some assets.