Hubert Burda Media is looking back on the best financial year in its corporate history. With some 500 products in Germany and 13 other countries, the Burda Group posted turnover topping EUR €2.9 billion in 2021, about 6% more than the previous year, and employed some 10,500 colleagues by year’s end.
This positive development has been driven foremost by solid growth in the digital sector and the successful transformation of the publishing business in Germany and abroad. Burda’s international investment arm, which provides long-term growth capital for rapidly expanding technology and media companies, was able to enlarge its portfolio to a total of 25 active investments by the end of 2021.
The Hubert Burda Media Management Board reports that it takes an optimistic view of the current financial year – despite the major challenges posed by Russia’s military offensive in Europe and the exploding costs of raw materials, energy and logistics services.
“With its diversified businesses in Germany and around the world, Burda is exceptionally well-positioned – and its products are firmly anchored in people’s everyday lives. Given these firm foundations, we have the entrepreneurial, creative and financial resources needed to power acquisitions and innovations, and we plan to leverage that.”Martin Weiss, CEO Hubert Burda Media
Digital business comprises 58% of turnover
Burda’s exclusively digital activities together generated turnover of €1.7 billion in 2021, which translates into a year-on-year gain of 10% – and a 58% share in total turnover. The New Work SE delivered a standout performance with its strong brands Xing and Kununu as the labour market continued to recover and the shortage of skilled workers began to bite. The publicly listed company posted its highest growth in the B2B segment.
The two e-commerce companies Cyberport and Computeruniverse also posted gains in their highly competitive markets. Nebenan.de, a Burda majority holding since 2020, was able to maintain its strong growth in user numbers and register a substantial increase in turnover. The Holidaycheck Group was again hampered by the pandemic but – notwithstanding the lockdown – it remained profitable and increased its sales revenues significantly with new offerings in 2021. Driven by brands such as Focus.de and Chip.de, the digital publisher BurdaForward reached more than 41 million users per month, i.e. some 67% of all internet users in Germany.
Publishing business continues to thrive in Germany and beyond
To bolster its core focus of journalism in the long term, Burda pooled all its German publishing activities in the single entity BurdaVerlag in early 2021. That year, it regularly published a total of 155 magazine titles along with some 90 digital media products. This division operates a large number of sustainably profitable business models and, together with the content-marketing agency C3, generated sales revenues of €721 million in 2021 – slightly down year-on-year. Health and food number among the publishing house’s key digital growth markets. The year also saw positive trends taking hold in children’s media.
Burda’s foreign publishing operations are centred around four separate components: Immediate Media (UK), Publishing Europe (Poland, France, Czech Republic), Burda Luxury (Asia) and Burda Create! (crafting segment, e.g. Burda Style). Alongside the digital activities, which posted further growth in every market during 2021, Burda and its partners outside Germany published 171 magazines.
To accelerate its transformation into an e-commerce and technology player focussing on the lifestyle and beauty segment, Burda acquired a majority holding in the Polish e-commerce platform Cocolita. Additionally, the end of 2022’s first quarter saw BurdaInternational acquire the media operations of the Swiss Edipresse group in Poland. Turnover from international media added up to €372 million in 2021, a considerable increase over 2020. As in previous years, the main driver here was Immediate Media, the British platform for magazines and the digital consumer business.