Total revenue grew 6 per cent last year, to US$10.7bn, Chief Executive Steve Swartz said in a year-in-review e-mail to employees.
While better known for Esquire, Car and Driver, Good Housekeeping, Elle, O, the Oprah magazine, and its 20 per cent stake in ESPN, it is Fitch Ratings (a credit-rating service that’s part of Fitch Group), First Data Bank (a drug information company) and Homecare Homebase (a software company for the home health industry) that deliver the lion’s share of the profits.
“Standout earnings growth was delivered by Fitch Group, now our single largest majority owned business, First Databank, the drug information company that is our largest wholly owned stand-alone business and Homecare Homebase … our single fastest-growing business in 2015,” said Swartz
The Fitch Group, which rates government bonds, is now 80 per cent owned by Hearst, after it tacked on an additional 30 per cent stake to its holdings in 2015 — its biggest acquisition of the year.
The company remains on the prowl for acquisitions, Swartz said.
The privately held company does not disclose profits but has traditionally remained debt free and financed all acquisitions from cash flow.
A&E Networks, which it owns a minority stake in, recently partnered with Vice Media to launch Viceland, a cable channel.
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