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Author E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey books have been a blockbuster success for Bertelsmann.
Author E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey books have been a blockbuster success for Bertelsmann.
(NEIL HALL/REUTERS)

BREAKINGVIEWS

Bertelsmann faces 50 shades of declining profits

Reuters Breakingviews delivers agenda-setting financial insight. Its global correspondents react to stories as they develop, delivering sharp and provocative commentary on big financial news as it breaks.

The fictitious adventures of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, the protagonists of the 50 Shades erotic trilogy may have spared Bertelsmann’s management some nasty questions on declining profitability. The books’ global success helped boost operating profit at the German media group’s publishing unit, Random House, by 76 per cent to a record of €325-million ($424-million) – 19 per cent of group profit on only 13 per cent of its revenue.