Bastei Lübbe AG

With 335 employees and an annual turnover of €107.5 million, Bastei Lübbe AG, which is based in Cologne, is the largest medium-sized family company in the German publishing industry. The range offered by the twelve publishers and imprints of the media concern, which was founded more than 60 years ago and is led by the Management Board - comprising of Klaus Kluge and Ulrich Zimmermann - currently has a total of around 3,600 titles from the genres fiction, non-fiction, and children’s and young people’s books. Top authors such as Ken Follett, Dan Brown, Jeff Kinney, Rebecca Gablé and Andreas Eschbach, together with bestsellers such as »Die Säulen der Erde«, »Sakrileg« and »Das Jesus-Video«, have made Bastei Lübbe the undisputed market leader in the German-speaking publishing industry.

Bastei Lübbe AG’s business is essentially divided into three segments: books, novel booklets/puzzle magazines, and non-books.

The books segment is responsible for the most sales by far. This is thanks to a wide range of publishers and imprints, whose terrific authors captivate a wide audience with their stories, novels and topics. But Bastei Lübbe knows better than to just inspire the masses with bestselling authors such as Ken Follett and Dan Brown; it also considers the interests of different generations and target groups too. The children’s and young people’s book publishers owned by the company, Boje, Baumhaus and Baumhaus Taschenbuch, publish classics by legendary authors such as James Krüss, but also successful contemporary series such as Jeff Kinney’s »Gregs Tagebuch« and Klaus Baumgart’s »Lauras Stern«. Readers can also find unique all age and young adult titles from the genres dystopia, fantasy, suspense and romance published by the imprint ONE. Quadriga publishes works on current political and economic problems as well as books on business-related issues. In turn, the Eichborn Verlag publishes literary discoveries and special, original and exciting books in the genres fiction and non-fiction that have the makings of bestsellers - as Timur Vermes’ »Er ist wieder da« proves.

The one sector that is part of the books segment and easily has the greatest innovative capacity Bastei Lübbe is also the newest in the Bastei Lübbe portfolio: the digital sector. However, Bastei Lübbe has already offered media from outside the print industry for a long time. For example, Lübbe Audio, one of the largest audio book publishers in Germany, has produced prize-winning audio books and radio plays from the genres fiction, historical novels, thrillers, crime, horror and romance in its own recording studio since 1996. Today, Bastei Lübbe offers 2,600 of its 3,600 currently available titles as digital editions, and has become the first German publishing house to launch a purely digital range (Digital First) on the market.

The pace of Bastei Lübbe’s involvement in this segment is noticeably increasing too. With the majority shareholding in the Munich-based self-publishing platform BookRix in May 2014, Bastei Lübbe AG expanded and internationalised the digital sector. To be able to tell good stories via as many channels as possible, including new ones, in September 2014 Bastei Lübbe also established Bastei LLC, a joint venture with the Los Angeles-based multi-platform entertainment studio Imperative Entertainment: The partnership’s goal is to pool their activities more effectively on an international level with regard to the production and financing of motion pictures, TV shows, computer games, books, comics and other digital content, as well as to combine and perfect them using multimedia.

Last but not least, Bastei Lübbe also assimilated the successful online shopping platform in September 2014: The complete takeover of the web portal, which specialises in e-books, is also an important step for the company in the implementation of its digital strategy currently offers a range of 230,000 titles and already has over around 400,000 customers - a good basis from which Bastei Lübbe can develop the portal into an international streaming platform.

The novel booklets/puzzle magazines segment is the oldest in the Bastei Lübbe portfolio. It is clear to see that it has been a particular driver of the company’s growth over the decades. The novel booklet range, which consisted of two series of booklets over 60 years ago, today has over 30 series from a variety of genres. Some even enjoy cult status, such as the successful series »Dr. Stefan Frank« and »Der Bergdoktor«, which have now been filmed for the screen, as well as the global success »Jerry Cotton«, Jason Dark’s »Geisterjäger John Sinclair«, and the Westerns by grandmaster by G. F. Unger. The puzzle magazines segment is represented within the group by PMV, among others, a company that specialises in the publication, sale and distribution of entertaining puzzle magazines.

In the non-books segment, Bastei Lübbe combines company divisions and shareholdings that cannot be assigned directly to a media-related category in the classic sense, but with which a publishing house can broaden its base without moving too far away from its thematic core. For example, this is the case with the majority shareholding in the Hamburg-based Daedalic Entertainment GmbH, with which Bastei Lübbe is expanding its product portfolio to include computer and video games. The great thing about Daedalic: The company’s games have a particularly strong narrative - and good stories easily fit into Bastei Lübbe’s concept. This can also be seen in the idea of a video game based on Ken Follett’s bestselling novel “Die Säulen der Erde ”.

The non-books segment also includes Räder, a renowned supplier of table decorations, gift ideas, stationery, greeting cards, and fashion and home accessories.

On the stock exchange since 2013
Since the initial public offering in August 2013, shares in Bastei Lübbe AG (ISIN DE000A1X3YY0) have been listed in the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. This gives investors the opportunity to invest in a leading family company within the industry - a company whose profitability has continuously increased in recent years with great innovative capacity and in-house developments and series that are distributed worldwide, and which has some promising plans for the future.