JANUARY 27, 1997
Bertelsmann in F1
BERTELSMANN AG, the world's third largest media company, after Disney and Time Warner, is to handle the merchandising for Ferrari and Stewart and is talking to Tyrrell about a similar deal. We understand that the Ferrari deal is for seven years.
Based in Gutersloh, Germany, Bertelsmann has widespread holdings in the film business, in television (RTL+, Premiere and Vox), book publishing (Bantam Books, Doubleday Publishing, Book Club Associates) and in a newspaper and magazine empire which includes McCall's, Family Circle, Stern and Der Spiegel. The company - which has an annual turnover of $11 billion - has it own printing works and even a paper factory. The company is pushing into the music business (it owns RCA Records and Arista) and it is the Bertelsmann Music Group which controls Nice Man, the merchandising company involved in the F1 deals. This is run by London-based American Alvin Ross.
Each team looks after it own merchandising and drivers retain the rights to their own products. They can link up if they wish with the FIA (as several teams and drivers have done), which has a deal with a Paris-based Disney subsidiary.