Saturday 18 November 2017

Bertelsmann weighs up moving IP from UK after Brexit

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Stefan Nicola and Matthew Miller

Bertelsmann, the German media giant, may move its intellectual-property hub out of the UK because of the country's decision to leave the EU, CEO Thomas Rabe has said.

The company is doing a "full impact analysis" on Brexit's effect on its activities in Britain, Rabe said in Berlin. It's especially concerned that a hard Brexit could result in a worse tax regime for its UK IP hub, which helps handle royalty activities for units including music-rights company BMG, book publisher Penguin Random House and TV producer Fremantle Media, the maker of shows such as 'The X Factor'.

"Everything will depend on what form Brexit will take," Rabe told reporters. While Bertelsmann continues to believe in the business prospects of the UK, "we need open markets and access to a skilled workforce", he added. Bertelsmann will have to decide what to do "in a year's time at the latest," the CEO said.

The uncertainties sowed by Brexit come as Bertelsmann, one of Europe's biggest media conglomerates, extends a push into digital businesses and into markets like the US and Asia. The German company yesterday reported a slight decline in 2016 revenue, though its digital properties helped boost earnings for the year.

"We'd like to continue to invest in the UK," Rabe said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "But as I said, that's subject to the cost of business in the UK not increasing."

Bertelsmann is ready to increase its investment in book publisher Penguin Random House to 75pc, Rabe said. Bertelsmann, the publisher's majority owner, is in the process of appointing two investment banks to value the business as it negotiates a potential deal with co-owner Pearson. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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