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Post: RTL seeks to lay off 700 jobs at Gruner + Jahr


A blast at traditional company Gruner + Jahr: owner RTL wants to lay off 700 of the 1,900 jobs and stop and sell the magazines.

RTL Germany plans to cut around 700 of the 1,900 jobs in the magazine segment of former publisher Gruner + Jahr.

For this purpose, magazine titles will be terminated and sales will be controlled, and investments will be made in the remaining main brands such as “Stern”, especially in the digital field. The media group announced this.

These are the plans:

Behind this is the imminent redshift of the declining publishing business. Specifically, the plans look like this:

  • 13 brands also as “Stern”, “Geo”, “Capital”, “Stern Crime”, “Brigitte”, “Gala”, “Schöner Wohnen”, “Häuser”, “Couch”, “Geolino”, “Geolino mini” The digital fields of “parents” and “chef-cook” also remain in the portfolio. They make up about 70 percent of sales, according to the company.

  • An investment of around 80 million euros is planned until 2025. All other magazine titles will be discontinued or sold.

  • For example, RTL sees no future for “Geo Era” and branches of major brands such as “Geo Knowledge”, “Brigitte Woman” and “View” (Stern). Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Germany, told the German Press Agency:

Most of the titles are side branches. If we keep our main brands “Geo” and “Brigitte” we cannot imagine selling them. Otherwise, uniform brand management will not be possible.

Thomas Rabe, General Manager of RTL

  • Magazines “Guido” about designer Guido Maria Kretschmer and “Barbara” about TV presenter Barbara Schöneberger were also discontinued. There are 23 titles in total.

  • RTL, “Business Punk”, “Art”, “PM”, “Beef!” It is considering selling for five brands. and the “hall”. Shares of “11 Freunde” and RTL in the publishing group Deutsche Medien-Manufaktur in Münster (“Landlust”, “Essen & Drinking”) are also for sale. Rabe, who is also chairman of Bertelsmann, said the following about the current situation:

There were verbal and written expressions of interest. But there were no offers, not even exploration or sales negotiations. We will start negotiations in the coming weeks.

Thomas Rabe, General Manager of RTL

Around 700 jobs will be lost

RTL plans mean around 500 people will be laid off. This will be done “in stages by the end of 2025”. The vast majority of layoffs will affect Hamburg and are planned in administrative rather than editorial areas. In addition, there are approximately 200 workplaces that will be transferred to their new owners as a result of the planned sale.

With around 700 job losses, this would be over a third of the 1,900 full-time jobs in the magazine segment, predominantly in Hamburg.

Headquartered in Cologne, RTL Germany integrated the German magazine division of the Hamburg publishing house into its portfolio in 2022 and hopes for synergies. Both areas belong to the Bertelsmann Group.

protests against the sale

In recent months, RTL has reviewed the journal portfolio. For decades, workers and trade unionists had protested against a possible sale of books by the Hamburg publishing house, one of Europe’s most powerful media houses. Then the Lord said:

Gruner’s forward strategy is to focus on core brands and key topics.

Thomas Rabe, General Manager of RTL

Rabe said about the economic situation of the publishing industry: “The result after all cuts in 2022 was one million euros. Due to the market development in advertising and sales, as well as increases in paper and energy costs, Gruner + Jahr reported that there is no negative double digit on Ebit this year. We didn’t take any action.” Sales in this area were around 350 million euros in 2022.

Hamburg will be preserved as a magazine location. Rabe said: “We will continue our business in Hamburg – apart from corporate functions mainly convened in Cologne. Employees in Hamburg should move into new facilities by the end of 2024.” He did not specify a precise location.

As Rabe said, shares in the DDV media group, to which “Spiegel” and “Sächsische Zeitung” belong, remain with the Bertelsmann group. “That was never the subject of discussion.” Transactions are assigned to Bertelsmann Investments.

Source: ZDF

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