Three years after marching into India, German publishing giant Bertelsmann Group has decided to retreat from the highly populous country to focus on smaller markets.
The group’s magazine and newspaper-publishing arm, Gruner + Jahr, will withdraw from India completely, Handelsblatt has learned.
The company is leaving the country because the “expectations of our portfolio and the growth potential there hadn’t been fulfilled in recent years,” a Gruner + Jahr spokesperson confirmed.
The move marks a u-turn in the German publishing giant’s strategy in south Asia and raises questions about the group’s expansion strategy in other promising emerging markets.
Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Rabe may now want to eat his own words.
When announcing its expansion plans in the region at the time, Mr. Rabe referred to India as an “important international growth market” for the group. “The country’s demographic, economic and technological development offer great opportunities,” he said.
Gruner + Jahr, Europe’s second-largest publishing group, now intends to sell its shares in the four companies it owns in India, including a 79 percent stake in Maxposure Media Group.
The Johari family, the Indian partner in Maxposure, plans to buy back the company.
The German publisher will also sell its stakes in video, advertising and mobile marketing firms.