Fifty Shades heats up revenues at book publisher Random House

THE SUCCESS of the Fifty Shades book trilogy helped revenues at book publisher Random House to rise by more than a fifth in 2012, ahead of its merger with British book firm Penguin.

The record performance propped up profits at Random House’s owner, German media powerhouse Bertelsmann, which also owns TV company RTL.

Random House said revenues rose 22.5 per cent to €2.1bn (£1.8bn) last year, as the risque Fifty Shades series, written by British author EL James, sold more than 70m copies across print, ebook and audio versions. The division’s operating profit rose from €185m to €325m.

Despite this, Bertelsmann barely managed to increase profits last year as it was affected by lower earnings at RTL, which was put down to a challenging environment in key territories such as Germany.

Bertelsmann is looking to sell some of its stake in RTL in a bid to fund acquisitions. One potential target has been UK broadcaster ITV, although the German firm’s boss Thomas Rabe said purchases would not be of that size.

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