What we stand for
Holtzbrinck is passionately dedicated to the progress of science, education, and the culture of reading - all fundamental for the future of humanity. Inspiring creative minds and empowering entrepreneurs is the basis for creating long-lasting works, novel tools, and meaningful networks. With a focus on quality and reach, Holtzbrinck Publishing Group paves the way for success in a fast-changing digital environment. Holtzbrinck Publishing Group has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. We push boundaries and strive to be at the forefront of industry developments while committing to the businesses in which we invest for the long term.
Stefan von Holtzbrinck
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.
|Foundation of the Holding||1971|
|Sales||EUR 1.5 bn
(with 53% Joint Venture Springer Nature: EUR 3.2 bn)
|Total Assets||EUR 3.0 bn|
|Equity Ratio||57 %|
Holtzbrinck UK Tax Strategy Publication
In compliance with Para 16(2) Schedule 19 Finance Act 2016, this publication sets out the UK Group tax strategy of Holtzbrinck Investment Limited, as the top UK holding company of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group and its subsidiaries and UK Permanent Establishments, and Holtzbrinck Publishing Investments Limited for the year ended 31 December 2021.
Holtzbrinck is committed to comply with all the applicable tax laws and practices in all of the countries in which we operate. The Holtzbrinck Group operates in more than 100 countries. Key countries are Germany, the UK and the US. Compliance means paying the right amount of taxes, in the right place, at the right time and involves disclosing all relevant facts and circumstances to the tax authorities.
Our Approach to Risk Management and Governance Arrangements
The Board has overall responsibility and accountability for tax and adherence to our tax principles.
The tax affairs of the Holtzbrinck Group are managed by the Global Head of Tax, who reports to the Chief Financial Officer. The Global Head of Tax is supported by local tax teams in Germany, UK and the US. The members of the local tax team are tax professionals that are well educated and experienced in identification and management of tax risk. We invest in regular training to keep the members of the tax teams properly informed about any new developments in tax legislation, and/or to further educate themselves in specific tax areas if required or useful for the Group. The local tax teams receive support from reputable external tax advisors in their local country to ensure a proper and timely fulfilment of the local tax reporting, filing and payment obligations and compliance with the applicable local tax laws. Where required and appropriate the local tax teams will directly engage with HMRC and the competent tax authorities to disclose, discuss and clarify tax issues, tax risk and uncertain tax positions.
The Global Head of Tax and local tax teams proactively manage tax issues and risk. They maintain close relationships with the Group’s business to be involved in projects from planning to implementation to ensure that potential tax risks are identified in advance, and appropriate tax treatment is applied. Potential tax exposures are managed, tax guidance provided is followed and clear and timely guidance is given to the Group’s business managers on any tax matter that may arise. The business understands that the tax teams need to be involved in any transaction at an early stage and fully cooperates with the tax teams.
Our company has in place such policies and procedures that are reasonable to prevent the offences of UK and foreign tax evasion facilitation under sections 45 (1) and 46 (1) of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
Holtzbrinck falls under the Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) certification regime in the UK. As part of this, the UK-related tax processes are reviewed annually in order to provide assurance for the certification. In Holtzbrinck’s other key countries, Germany and the US, Holtzbrinck is subject to a regular and ongoing audit by the tax authorities.
Our Attitude towards Tax Planning
Holtzbrinck’s key objective in terms of tax planning is to ensure full compliance with the tax regulations of all the countries in which it operates and to properly and timely fulfil any reporting and filing obligation and to pay the correct amount of any taxes on a timely basis.
We do not consider and engage in aggressive tax planning and artificial arrangements. Our tax planning is aligned with our commercial business activities and based on the principle that profits are allocated and taxed in the countries in which business value is created. Based on this principle and in compliance with the local tax laws we consider it our responsibility to our shareholders to structure our affairs and business transactions in a tax efficient manner. Accordingly we make use of tax reliefs, exemptions, allowances and incentives where available and in a manner intended by the applicable tax laws. We will not use tax planning for purposes which are knowingly in contradiction with the intent of the tax laws.
Within our tax planning we aim for certainty on the tax positions and interpretations of the applicable tax laws we adopt. Where the tax law is unclear or subject to interpretation or where different alternatives with a different tax outcome exist, we may seek advice from a reputable external tax advisor and/or discuss the matter directly with HMRC or the competent foreign tax authority to confirm our position adopted.
Our Attitude towards Tax Risk
Holtzbrinck’s appetite for tax risk is low. We seek to be compliant with the tax laws and to minimise the risk of a dispute with HMRC and foreign tax authorities by being open, transparent and honest about all our tax affairs.
We do not engage in artificial tax arrangements, to avoid taxes. Any tax planning and tax optimisation activities are compliant with the applicable tax laws, are supported by solid business reason and are consistent with commercial reality.
Given the nature, scale and international nature of Holtzbrinck’s business, tax risks are to a certain extent inevitable in the current international environment. However, we actively seek to identify, evaluate, monitor and manage this tax risk. Where there is significant uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of law or complexity in relation to a tax risk, we will seek external advice from reputable external tax advisors and/or seek to resolve the uncertainty by dialogue with HMRC or the competent foreign tax authorities.
Our Approach to dealings with HMRC
It is Holtzbrinck’s aim to maintain an open, transparent, honest, collaborative and constructive working relationship with HMRC. Within the Senior Accounting Officer process, we have a regular meeting with our Customer Compliance Manager at HMRC in which we disclose and discuss any developments in the Group’s business, changes in the Group’s structure, tax risk, tax issues and status of the fulfilment of our tax filing, tax reporting and tax payment obligations as well as compliance with any new tax legislation. The UK group has a large business relationship with HMRC and this results in a formal risk assessment of the group by HMRC on a triennal basis. The group currently enjoys a Low Risk Rating.
- Dr. Bernd Scheifele (Chairman)
- Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek (Deputy Chairman)
- Julia Jäkel
- Christian Meissner
- Christiane Schoeller
- Dr. Stefan von Holtzbrinck
- Monika Schoeller Family
Our tradition is built on a foundation of hard work, intelligence and skill, independent thought and actions.
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 V.S. Naipaul, Imre Kertész, John M. Coetzee, Elfriede Jelinek, Harold Pinter, Orhan Pamuk, Doris Lessing, Jean-Marie Le Clézio, Herta Müller, Mario Vargas Llosa, Tomas Tranströmer, Alice Munro and Louise Glück – for having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in the last two decades.
Scientific American, in its more than 170 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.
The Macmillan Learning 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.
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.
Responsibility / Sustainability
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.
The biggest parts of our business areas such as Macmillan and Holtzbrinck Buchverlage have worked for more than eight years consequently towards the goal of climate neutrality and achieved it with Springer Nature following by the end of 2020. For the rest of our businesses (approx. 10 percent of our sales) we aim to achieve carbon neutrality within the next two years.
If you want to learn more about our sustainability and responsibility efforts, please visit the following sites:
Sustainability - Holtzbrinck Buchverlage
Sustainability - Macmillan
Taking responsibility - Springer Nature
ZEIT WISSEN Prize Encouraging Sustainability
It is a pleasure and privilege for us to support the following institutions and societies amongst many others:
American Booksellers for Free Speech, USA
Authors Guild, USA
BINC Charitable Foundation, USA
Civitas Schools, UK
Deutsche Schillergesellschaft e.V./
Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach, Germany
First Book, USA
Graham Windham (foster care), USA
Julius Springer Charitable Fund e.V., Germany
Literacy Partners, USA
National Book Foundation, USA
National Coalition Against Censorship, USA
PEN American Center, USA
PEN International, USA and Germany
Poets & Writers, USA
Science Media Centres, UK and Germany
Stuttgarter Kinderstiftung, Germany
The National Literacy Trust, UK
United Jewish Appeal, USA
Faith in tradition and the courage to innovate: Today these common qualities characterize the seven dynamic and globally structured businesses in which the Group is invested – Springer Nature, Macmillan Publishers and Holtzbrinck Buchverlage, Macmillan Learning, Holtzbrinck Digital, Digital Science, DIE ZEIT Group, as well as Funds & Investments.
2011 - today
The divestment of the newspaper holdings - except for the stakes held in DIE ZEIT - was completed by 2011 with a view to strengthening our focus on the course embarked upon at the turn of the century. In 2012, the Group completely re-structured to form three divisions addressing Science & Education, Publishing, and Digital Investments, further underpinning the strategic direction of the Group. In 2015, a unique opportunity presented itself in the form of a joint venture with Springer Science+Business Media, instantly combining two of the market’s most influential professional academic and consumer book publishing houses and further demonstrating the Group’s international commitment in the area of Science, Academia and Education.
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 around the company’s core areas on the education and science sector and on the new internet-based business models as well as on the opening up of new markets and opportunities in new language environments outside the German-speaking countries.
The company further pursued its long-term interests in the areas of literature, science, and education, in acquiring Farrar, Straus and Giroux and the Macmillan Group whose portfolio included 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 Group’s 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 1950’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).