Jan 21 (Reuters) - German media group Bertelsmann had an excellent financial year thanks to a strong recovery in advertising business, Chief Executive Thomas Rabe said on Thursday, adding that he expects a decent performance in the first quarter.
Rabe, whose contract was extended on Thursday, told Reuters that the group's diversification helped cushion the impact of the pandemic, adding that advertising markets should recover again once the new lockdown is lifted.
"Hopefully, that happens before Easter, because the Easter business is extremely important to us," he said.
Bertelsmann is due to report its full-year results on March 30.
Rabe said a pick-up in advertising business, particularly in television, helped the group's advertising revenue in the second half of 2020 to exceed 2019 results over the same period.
"Of course, the advertising business will be affected again during the second lockdown, but Bertelsmann's other businesses remain strong," Rabe, who is also the CEO at RTL, said.
In November 2020, Bertelsmann bought U.S. publishing group Simon & Schuster to strengthen its presence in the United States, which is the group's second largest market.
It is awaiting U.S. antitrust approval to finalise the transaction. "We should have clarity on that in the course of the first quarter," Rabe said. (Reporting by Klaus Lauer, Writing by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)