Thirst for Knowledge

The Holtzbrinck Group draws together sources from research, education and culture to craft powerful currents of knowledge. It is the insatiable thirst for knowledge that is the hallmark of our authors and academics, our thinkers and data technicians. Combined with our credo of always putting quality before profit, it has fuelled the growth of our business into a world leading media company.

We do not know an answer to every question but we build networks and tools for those involved in sharing knowledge, teaching and in learning: our aim is to provide a wealth of ideas to help people in their work. We are not trying to reach a final destination. We are committed to accompanying the journey, as we are convinced that education, the ability to use language and literacy are the determinants of all progress.

We do not think that technology alone can solve every problem, but we know that the Internet disseminates culture and knowledge effectively.

As a media group dedicated to science, education and the wider cause of reading we aspire to provide first class service to our authors, researchers, academics, educators, librarians and readers. We strive to be inspiring and enabling in the creation of great works and networks. With quality and reach, we provide our customers with both oversight and insight in a fast changing environment.

Over the years, my family has had the privilege of uniting world leading publishing houses across the globe. Many of them go back a long time, like Nature (1869), Macmillan (1843), Springer (1842), and S. Fischer (1886). Many of them were started-up just within the last decade – like Sapling, Readcube or Netdoktor. Many others found a sponsor in our funds like Holtzbrinck Ventures.

As much as we are proud when we succeed in developing the best our group has to offer into something even better, sometimes through disruption, we take pride in equal measure in tradition and the legacy of many great minds. It is the long term view where we believe the benefit for all can be found.

Stefan von Holtzbrinck




Our tradition is built on a foundation of hard work, intelligence and skill. Our authors, including many Nobel Prize winners, our readers and our customers continue to be entitled to nothing but the best.



Our intellectually and culturally diverse company is driven by independent thought and actions. We think in terms of the individual and collaborative networks, not in terms of hierarchy.



For us growth is not a purpose in itself. Growth comes instead from our organic core, the company's entrepreneurial spirit and dedicated long term view.



Our responsibility extends beyond our daily work: we are committed in a larger sense to having a positive effect on the earth and on the society in which we live.

At Holtzbrinck we are committed to the long term health of the earth’s many cultures and societies as well as to the planet itself. We work on many problems in many countries, with our goals and ambitions most frequently set by the individual passions of the people who come to us. We deliver remarkable value through our quality publishing and services, but we also actively pursue the greater good. The following offers a sample of achievements made within our group:

We are grateful first and foremost to all of our authors, many of whom have won prestigious awards. In the field of literature we congratulate John M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Harold Pinter, Orhan Pamuk, Doris Lessing, Jean-Marie Le Clézio, Herta Müller, Mario Vargas LLosa, Tomas Tranströmer and Alice Munro – for having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the last decade. Scientific American, in its 168 year history, has published over 240 articles from Nobel Laureates including Albert Einstein, Linus Pauling, Francis Crick, Hans A Bethe, Steven Weinberg, Harold Varmus and Al Gore. Nature has published many scientific breakthroughs since its start in 1869, including Francis Crick and James Watson’s (1953) seminal ‘double helix’ paper, David Baltimore’s (1970) work on the enzyme reverse transcriptase as well as Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello’s (1998) RNA-interference paper.

For further information please visit:

The Macmillan Higher Education group celebrates Emilio Segrè, Murray Gell-Mann, Paul Berg, David Hubel, Leon Lederman, Paul Crutzen, Eric Kandel, and Paul Krugman as its Nobel laureate text book authors. The Palgrave’s Economics for the Curious would not have been possible without major contributions from Robert Solow (editor), Vernon Smith, Dale Mortensen, Michael Spence, Peter Diamond, Erik Maskin, Roger Myerson, John F. Nash and William Sharpe.

If you want to learn more about our sustainability efforts, please visit the following sites:

It is a pleasure and privilege for us to support the following institutions and societies amongst many others:

  • Cancer Research, UK and various cancer charities in the USA
  •, USA
  • Common Purpose, UK, Germany and South Africa
  • Creative Commons
  • Euroscience Open Forum
  • Förderverein Kinderfreundliches Stuttgart e.V., Germany
  • Goethe Institut, Germany
  • International Association of Teachers of English
  • Literacy Partners, USA
  • London University of the Arts, UK
  • Macmillan Cancer Support, UK
  • Max-Planck-Society, Germany
  • Museum on the Seam, Israel
  • National Book Foundation, USA
  • New York Public Library, USA
  • Oxfam, UK
  • PEN International
  • Pilotlight Foundation, Australia
  • The Publishing Training Centre, UK
  • S. Fischer Stiftung, Germany
  • Skip Lunch Fight Hunger, New York
  • Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Germany
  • Stiftung Lesen, Germany
  • The American Academy in Berlin, Germany
  • The Nature Conservancy, USA
  • TYCA Outstanding Community College Teacher award, USA
  • UK Science Media Centre
  • United Jewish Appeal, USA
  • Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

Facts & Figures

Our portfolio is characterized by committed investment in a healthy mix of organic growth and targeted acquisitions. In times of significant fluctuations and change in the global economy we aim for a sound equity ratio rate as a trustworthy basis to work from. This principle not only ensures the constant attribution of adequate resources for our entrepreneurial dynamism and ambition, it also enables our teams to deliver on a long-term vision.

Revenue in 2014 by

Business Area

Revenue in 2014 by Business Area
Revenue in 2014 by


Revenue in 2014 by Region

A healthy balance sheet and financial resources provide a strong foundation for our entrepreneurial activities and allow us to focus on long-term strategic goals. We want to continue to grow and achieve sustainable results. To help us in achieving these objectives, we focus on the following business fields: “Macmillan Science and Education” (science and education), “Macmillan Publishers” (fiction and non-fiction) and “Holtzbrinck Digital, Information & Services” (internet companies, news media and services). The long-term 50% share in the “Die Zeit” newspaper is being managed in the “Holtzbrinck Digital, Information & Services” business field. In May 2015 the majority of the business field “Macmillan Science and Education” (namely Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave Macmillan and Macmillan Education) was merged with Springer Science+Business Media into the new Joint Venture Springer Nature. This strategic merger brought together these dynamic publishing houses with more than 150 years of history behind them, as well as complimentary geographic footprints and brand portfolios.

The consolidated revenue for the 2014 fiscal year amounted to 1,727.1 million. The net increase in revenue relative to the prior year is due to organic growth, currency effects and the strategic divestments made within the portfolio. After adjusting for portfolio and currency effects, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group recorded an organic increase in revenue of €26.4 million or +1.6% for the past financial year. The Holtzbrinck Publishing Group digital products and services revenues continued to grow strongly and comprise 29.3% of total revenues in 2014.

The companies of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group reached an portfolio-adjusted operating income before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation and extraordinary effects (operating EBITDA) of 170.6 million for the 2014 fiscal year which is a slight decrease of -2.6% compared to the prior year. This result has already absorbed high development costs for new and, in particular, digital products and business models. Overall the group level consolidated operating EBITDA decreased to €172.1 million particularly as a result of divestment activities. The earnings before taxes of the financial year 2014 increased by a plus of €6.1 million to €102.9 million. 

As of 31 December 2014, the remaining net debt stood at €54.3 million. With a leverage ratio (ratio of net debt to operating EBITDA) at the end of the financial year of 0.3x and an equity ratio of 43.8%, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group has secured its long-term stability and at the same time created room for future investments.

Revenue Development according to Region in €m 2014 2013
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
North America
Other Regions
Total 1.727,1 1.719,3
Revenue Development according to Business Field in €m 2014 2013
Macmillan Publishers
Macmillan Science and Education
Holtzbrinck Digital, Information & Services
Consolidation of internal revenue items
Revenue of the Group portfolio at the balance-sheet date 1.710,1 1.664,4
Disposed companies 17,0 54,9
Total 1.727,1 1.719,3
Other Financial Key Figures in €m 2014 2013
Operating EBITDA of the Group portfolio at the balance-sheet date** 170,6 175,1
Operating EBITDA, consolidated / total** 172,1 180,8
Pre-tax earnings 102,9 96,8
Balance sheet total 2.214,8 2.080,2
Net financial position -54,3 -30,3
Equity ratio*** 43,8% 43,3%

* Consolidated revenue, without minority stakeholdings

** Adjusted for extraordinary and non-recurring effects, including operating earnings consolidated according to the equity method

*** Calculated on the basis of the total from equity (in accordance with IAS 32) and other long-term capital provided by partners/shareholders

Countries & Markets

Our offices enable sales in



Our offices enable sales in 120 Countries

Our Team

Executive Board

  • Stefan von Holtzbrinck
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Michael Brockhaus
    Head of Group Strategy and M&A
  • John Sargent
    Chief Executive Officer Macmillan Publishers
  • Jens Schwanewedel
    Chief Financial Officer

Supervisory Board

  • Prof. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann (Chairman)
  • Bernd Scheifele (Deputy Chairman)
  • Prof. Jürgen Mlynek
  • Monika Schoeller


  • Monika Schoeller
  • Stefan von Holtzbrinck


Faith in tradition and the courage to innovate: today these qualities characterize the three dynamic and globally structured business areas – Springer Nature (science and education), Macmillan Publishers (fiction and non-fiction), as well as Holtzbrinck Digital, Information & Services (internet companies, news media and services).

2000 - today

In 2001 Dieter von Holtzbrinck passed on the management of the company to his brother Stefan von Holtzbrinck (*1963), leaving the company five years later to set up a family-foundation. In the context of a far-reaching digital reorientation, the investment emphasis was placed on new internet-based business models, on the education and science sector, as well as on the opening up of new markets and opportunities in new language environments outside the German-speaking countries. The sale of newspapers – except for the stakes held in Die Zeit – were completed with a view to strengthening our focus on the course embarked upon by our three divisions.


The company further pursued its long-term interests in the area of literature, science and education, in acquiring Farrar, Straus & Giroux and the Macmillan Group whose portfolio includes Nature, Macmillan Education, St. Martin´s Press, Pan Macmillan and Tor amongst others.


Georg-Dieter von Holtzbrinck (*1941) took over the company helm from his father in 1980. Domestically the main focus was increasingly placed on expanding the newspaper sector, ultimately leading to the acquisition of Die Zeit. In addition, the book activities were extended internationally, through the acquisition of Henry Holt; by contrast, in 1989 the book-club activities were discontinued. In the mid-1980s, the publishing group deepened its international commitment in the area of science and education with the acquisition of Scientific American and W.H.Freeman.


In 1971 Georg von Holtzbrinck decided to draw together the groups prospering activities in a holding company, the Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH publishing group, and to operate it on a decentralized basis.

1945 - 1970

During the years of reconstruction Georg von Holtzbrinck acquired the Hausbücherei in 1948 which merged with the Deutsche Bücherbund (German books’ association) in the 50’s. The latter’s growth and financial strength, as well as Georg von Holtzbrinck’s personal closeness to the publishers, enabled him to gain a share of ownership in renowned book-publishing and newspaper companies such as S. Fischer, Rowohlt and Handelsblatt.


The publishing group’s origins trace back to the book-club business. In the 1930s, the company founder Georg von Holtzbrinck (*1909 – †1983) began with the sale of subscriptions to books and periodicals (Bibliothek der Unterhaltung und des Wissens/ The Library of Entertainment and Knowledge, Devex).


Springer Nature is a major force in scientific, scholarly, professional and educational publishing.

Every day, around the globe, our imprints, books, journals and resources reach millions of people - helping students to learn, researchers and scientists to discover and professionals to achieve their goals and ambitions. We see it as our role to challenge the status quo on our customers’ behalf – finding new ways to accelerate learning and discovery and making it easier for the world to access, share, use and apply the very best research and information.

The Springer Nature family of brands, businesses and imprints includes some of the most famous names in academic and professional publishing.

As they face different challenges, we use our insight to tune in to what they will need in the future to help overcome them. We’ve never been afraid to try new things.

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Our ambitious publishing houses bring to life the works of authors from across the world. They are forerunners in delivering a range of formats, and are focused on creating products and communities that help foster a passion for reading from generation to generation.

We believe that language and reading skills are the foundation of every individual’s success. This drives our relentless commitment to promote and encourage the joy of reading to the widest spectrum of ages and cultures possible.

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An open mind and relevant analysis serve as the starting points for creating our unmistakable information offerings.

We monitor the pulse of society, continually identifying and exploring new opportunities that connect individuals with shared interests, both quickly and sustainably. The quality of our offerings provides users and readers with a precise and proven compass in the world of digital innovations, adding meaning and relevance to both cultural and technological developments.

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An Alternative Perspective

Global networking, technical progress and digital innovations are an opportunity and an incentive that drive all Holtzbrinck activity: we are always eager to learn, to see things from a new perspective, and we vigorously question existing solutions with the goal of producing better solutions.

We are on the look out for bold, cutting-edge thinkers with fresh, imaginative and unconventional ideas. The Group cultivates an environment that encourages independence and responsibility and allows space for creativity through productive collaborations in both national and international teams.

Discovering individual strengths, tapping into them and pro-actively nurturing them lays at the heart of our culture.

Find out more about the people in our Group, our working world, open positions and HR development programs through our recruitment sites: