a media industry resource

Gruner & Jahr

Table of contents 

This page considers the German-based Gruner & Jahr publishing group, now 74.9% owned by the Bertelsmann media conglomerate.

It covers -

  • overview
  • holdings
  • studies
  • landmarks


Gruner + Jahr publishes around 125 magazines and newspapers in Germany, 12 other countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia. It claims to be Europe's leading consumer-magazine publishing company. As of 2004 it had around 11,500 employees and a turnover of around €2.44 billion, with operating EBIT of €215 million.

25.1% of the group is held by the Jahr family.

Gruner + Jahr's international magazine division includes Prisma Presse (France's second largest magazine publisher), G+J-Polska in Poland, G+J-Espana in Spain, G+J-Italy (in partnership with Berlusconi), G+J UK, G+J Russia, G+J Austria and a joint venture in China.

Gruner + Jahr has a 60% stake in Germany's Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus, 50% of the FINANCIAL TIMES DEUTSCHLAND, Motor-Presse Stuttgart (54.9 %), am Spiegel Verlag (25.5 %) and the Hamburg School of Journalism (95 %). It has printing operations at five locations in Germany and the US (Brown Printing Company)


Gruner + Jahr USA was formed in 1978 following acquisition of Parents Magazines Enterprises, Inc (publisher of Parents, Expecting, Parents Baby and Ser Padres). In 1994 Gruner + Jahr USA acquired The New York Times Women's Magazine Group (Family Circle, McCall's, American Homestyle & Gardening, Child and Fitness), moving from the 25th-largest to the sixth-largest consumer-magazine publisher in the US. Six years later it bought Inc. magazine and Fast Company for US$360 million


There has been no major English-language study ofor its Gerd Bucerius, founder of Die Zeit and a major owner of Gruner & Jahr. Ralf Dahrendorf's Liberal & Unabhängig: Gerd Bucerius und seine Zeit (Munich: Beck 2001) has yet to be translated.


Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.

1835 Bertelsmann founded as a religious printer and publisher

1948 launch of Stern magazine by Henri Nannen GmbH under Gerd Bucerius

1965 Gruner + Jahr founded through merger of publishers John Jahr (Constanze, Brigitte, SCHÖNER WOHNEN, Capital) and
Gerd Bucerius (Stern, Die Zeit) with printer Richard Gruner (Gruner & Sohn, Gruner Druck GmbH). Gruner holds 39.5%, Jahr 32.25% and Bucerius 28.25%

1969 Richard Gruner sells his shares. Bertelsmann's Reinhard Mohn takes 25% stake, Jahr and Bucerius each hold 37.5%

1969 Gruner + Jahr takes 90% of Munich publisher Kindler & Schiermeyer (Jasmin, Eltern, Twen), with 10% held by Kindler's owner-manager Ernst Naumann (later exchanged for 5% of G+J)

1971 G+J takes a 24.75% stake in Spiegel publishing house (Der Spiegel)

1972 G+J acquires 15% of Vereinigte Motor-Verlage GmbH & Co. KG (Auto, Motor, Sport)

1972 Gruner + Jahr GmbH & Co. becomes Druck- und Verlagshaus Gruner + Jahr AG & Co KG

1972 launches monthly magazine Essen & Trinken

1973 Bucerius exchanges his shares in G+J for shares in Bertelsmann, which becomes majority shareholder of G+J with 60%

1975 Jahr sells 9.9% to Bertelsmann (retaining 25.1%)

1976 G+J acquires 33.3% of Lübeck publisher Ehrlich & Sohn KG (Frau im Spiegel)

1976 Bertelsmann acquires Ernst Naumann's 5%

1976 GEO launched

1977 Mohn founds Bertelsmann Foundation

1978 G+J buys US Parents Magazine group from NY Times, forms Gruner & Jahr USA

1978 G+J acquires Spanish publisher Cosmos Distribuidora (Dunia, Ser Padres Hoy)

1978 launches science magazine P.M.

1978 founds G+J School for Journalists (later Henri Nannen School)

1978 establishes French publisher Participations Edition Presse (later Prisma Presse)

1979 launches HÄUSER and Art

1979 buys Brown Printing Co in US

1984 Bertelsmann and G+J merge electronic media interests in Ufa Film & Broadcasting. Ufa takes 40% stake in RTL plus, first private German-language television station

1985 G+J buys rest of Ehrlich & Sohn

1985 G+J gains 24.9% of Manager Magazin Verlagsgesellschaft (Manager Magazin)

1985 launches SCHÖNER ESSEN and Flora

1985 founds Gruner + Jahr UK

1986 buys Hamburger Morgenpost

1986 launches TÉLÉ LOISIRS in France and women's magazine MIA in Spain

1986 Ufa takes a stake in Radio Hamburg

1987 G+J USA buys Californian printer Riverside County Publishing

1987 G+J launches Best in UK

1990 joint venture Gruner & Jahr/Mondadori (50% owned by Berlusconi-controlled Mondadori) launched with publication of Italian monthlies Focus and Vera

1990 G+J launches Chemnitzer Morgenpost, Dresdner Morgenpost and Mecklenburger Morgenpost

1991 acquires stake in Berliner Verlag as a part of joint venture

1991 launches Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Kurier, Wochenpost and FF magazine

1991 acquires majority of Dresdner Druck- und Verlagshaus (Sächsische Zeitung)

1991 acquires 27.5% of Druckhaus Friedrichshain printers

1992 acquires remaining 50 percent of Berliner Verlag

1992 increases stake in Druckhaus Friedrichshain to 55%

1992 launches Leipziger Morgenpost

1993 establishes G+J Polska in Warsaw

1993 acquires acquires 49% of Nice Presse Invest (NPI), publisher of daily newspapers DÉLMAGYARORSZÁG and DÉLVILÁG

1995 closes Leipziger Morgenpost and Tango

1996 Gruner & Jahr sells UK title Here! to IPC Magazines (later acquired by Time)

1997 UFA merges with Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Télédiffusion (CLT), active in private broadcasting since 1931

1998 Gruner & Jahr/Mondadori launches Top Girl

2000 Gruner & Jahr/Mondadori launches Jack monthly

2000 CLT-UFA merges with television arm of Pearson, becomes RTL

2000 Gruner & Jahr sells UK arm (Prima, Best, Prima Baby, Focus, Your Home) to Hearst's National Magazines

2000 G+J US closes Homestyle

2000 G+J US buys Fast Company and Inc for US$360m

2000 buys 25 business magazines from EMAP for £14.3m

2001 25% stake in Bertelsmann acquired by Pargesa subsidiary Groupe Bruxelles Lambert as part of RTL deal

2003 federal government forbids sale of Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Kurier and Sächsische Zeitung to Holtzbrinck

2003 G+J sells newspaper operations in Eastern Europe to Ringier

2004 sells YM magazine to Conde Nast

2004 Gruner & Jahr/Mondadori launches Focus Junior monthly

2005 G+J sells US consumer titles Family Circle, Parents, Child and Fitness to Meredith for US$350m

2005 sells Fast Company and Inc in US$32.5m MBO